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How Qatar sponsored Extremism in Catalonia

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In the aftermath of Barcelona terror attack, a Spanish newspaper has alleged that Qatar has strong links to a large number of extremists in Spain, and is believed to have sponsored the bloody massacre.

The gulf state stands accused for financing Islamic worship centers and mosques in Spain, particularly in the province of Catalonia, where the terrorist attacks occurred.

According to the tabloid, Doha plays a financier role for many places of worship in Barcelona. And it does this through a list of wealthy businessmen whose involvement led to the abysmal growth of “radical Islam” within Spain.

Muslims pray in Escorxador Square in Barcelona. (File photo: AFP)

ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack in Barcelona, and this brings to mind the insecurity around Europe since France and Belgium suffered worse terror attacks recently.

Islamic extremists are believed to have infiltrated security networks through wealthy businessmen who fund mosques frequented by extremists in Europe. Critics, as well as investigators, are trailing links between financiers of Islam and terrorism which has claimed many lives.

A report published in the Spanish newspaper “La Razón” exposed the funds coming from abroad, especially from Doha to centers of worship in Spain in Catalonia, and alleged the link as a reason why extremism and terrorism got a stronghold in Spain.

Islamic centers and mosques have been under Spanish security control for years since it started receiving funding from Qatar through wealthy businessmen, the report said.

The data indicate that seven percent of Muslims in Spain, estimated at two and a half million people are based in Catalonia.

Spain has more than 1,260 Islamic worship centers, of which 256 are in Catalonia alone, where the highest numbers of immigrants live.

Driss Oubakir was arrested as one of the two suspects responsible for the Barcelona attack.

Police declared him a wanted person with his picture made public for easy identification, but he has since come forward to claim he was not in Barcelona at the time of the attack.

Oubakir claims he was about 106km away in Girona, La Vanguardia reported, adding that the documents found in the van which was used for that attack could have been stolen by his brother.

The van mounted the pavement and drove into people in Las Ramblas, wounding 130 persons and killing a total of 13.

The driver reportedly mixed with the crowd for an easy escape.

A 26-year-old witness named Will Ako said he was eating at  Taller De Tapas with his family when the terrorists struck.

In his words, ‘We had just finished eating and were about to leave when we heard a commotion and the patrons in the restaurant rushing from their seats.

‘I then saw people running to the east of the restaurant and I saw a couple of people about 30 yards down the road crouching around what looked like someone on the ground and they were calling for assistance.

‘Within a couple of minutes, police started to arrive and they were running west of the restaurant and some were telling us to stay inside.

‘Soon after, loads of cars, bikes and ambulances arrived and then the armed police.’

Manhunt for the Barcelona van attack suspect, 22, still on the run

Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, has been identified as the man behind Barcelona attack.

The Moroccan has been on the run, and according to Spanish newspaper El Pais, he is said to be a key member of a jihadist cell.

Citizens of 24 countries were among those killed and injured in Barcelona including one Belgian national confirmed to have died.

Police are also looking for a white Kangoo vehicle which is believed to have been rented by the suspects and could have crossed the border into France, according to French media.

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