ISIS terrorists seen laughing in photos before Barcelona terror attack

Chilling new images published in Spanish media Tuesday show ISIS terrorists smiling as they prepare explosives before last year's deadly attacks in Barcelona and a nearby resort town.

The previously unreleased photos were leaked from the investigation into the van attack in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district and the vehicle and knife attack in the coastal town of Cambrils that killed 16 people on Aug. 17-18.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks saying the perpetrators were “soldiers of the Islamic State."

In one of the photos published by the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, one of the terrorists, identified as Youssef Aalla, can be seen smiling and posing with an explosive belt at a house in Alcanar, Spain.

In this undated photo, published Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2018 by the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia, a terrorist identified as Youssef Aalla who participated in several attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on August 17, 2017 killing 16 people and injuring more than 120, poses with an explosive belt at a house in Alcanar, Spain. Spanish media are showing previously unseen photographs leaked from the police investigation into the attacks of some of those involved in last year's terror attacks just days before the anniversary. (La Vanguardia Via AP)

Youssef Aalla, who participated in several attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on Aug. 17, 2017, poses with an explosive belt at a house in Alcanar, Spain.  (La Vanguardia Via AP)

Authorities said at the time the terror cell used the house in Alcanar as a bomb factory, and were planning to set off bombs at high-profile targets, until a blast at the home killed two terrorists Aug. 16 -- the day before the attacks. Authorities initially thought the blast was due to a gas explosion but later realized the building was packed with butane canisters.

In another photo published Tuesday, terrorists identified as Younes Abouyaaqoub and Youssef Aalla can be seen preparing explosives at the house.

Mohamed Hichamy, left, Youssef Aalla, center, and Younes Abouyaaqoub, right, post with explosives at a home in Alcanar, Spain.  (Policia Municipal De Madrid)

Spanish newspaper La Razon said the images were recovered along with video files from the rubble of the house in Alcanar. The newspaper also published transcripts of dialogue between the terrorists, who are captured making fun of their soon-to-be victims, and bragging about the planned attack.

"Allah has chosen us from among millions of people to make you cry blood," a man identified as Omar Hichamy is quoted by La Razon as saying.   

Abouyaaqoub, a Moroccan native, was the person who rented the vans and was the driver who carried out the first deadly attack, in Barcelona's Las Ramblas tourist district.


Authorities said Abouyaaqoub was part of the 12-man terror cell that unleashed another attack hours after the Ramblas attack in the nearby seaside town of Cambrils. Five members of the gang plowed into pedestrians before going on a rampage with an ax and large knives, stabbing one person to death. The five terrorists were eventually shot by police.

This is an undated handout photo sourced from social media of 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaquoub. Authorities in Spain and France pressed their search Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017 for the supposed ringleader of an Islamic extremist cell that carried out vehicle attacks in Barcelona and a seaside resort, as the investigation focused on links among the Moroccan members and the house where they plotted the carnage.  One of the main suspects in the attacks, Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan, was believed to be at large. His name figures on a police list of four main suspects sought in the attack. All the suspects on the list hail from Ripoll, a quiet, upscale town of 10,000 about 100 kilomaters north of Barcelona. (Social Media via AP)

Younes Abouyaaquoub, 22, the driver of the white van in the Barcelona terror attack.  (Social media via AP)

Abouyaaqoub was killed by police on Aug. 21 about 30 miles west of Barcelona after an extensive manhunt. He was wearing an explosive belt at the time.

The photos were released ahead of the first anniversary of the attacks.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed