One of the four surviving suspects behind recent terror attacks in Spain has said the terrorist cell he was part of had planned to attack "bigger targets", according to local media.
Mohamed Houli, 34, made the remark as he delivered his statement at the Madrid High Court on Tuesday (22 August).
He is one of the members of a now dismantled 12-strong terror cell suspected of being responsible for deadly attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.
At least 13 people were killed when a van rammed into a crowd in the popular tourist spot Las Rabmblas, on 17 August. Another person was stabbed to death by Younes Abouyaaqoub, the 22-year-old Moroccan man accused of driving the van during the attack.
The alleged cell also orchestrated a similar vehicle attack in Cambrils on the morning of 18 August. One person died in that attack.
Houli was injured during an explosion at a house in Alcanar, where some of the suspects were building explosive devices before the attacks. Following the incident, they opted to use vehicles instead.
Houli replied to all the questions asked by Catalan police during his deposition, Antena 3 news site said, citing sources present at the time the suspect was interviewed.
Following the suspect's deposition, it emerged that the group was planning "one or several imminent attacks" in Barcelona.
Houli, who was taken to hospital following the explosion, told the judge and the public prosecutors that the cell was plotting to carry out a bigger attack, but the plan was abandoned following the explosion.
Houli's defence asked for his temporary and conditional release, but the public prosecutor said the suspect should be jailed.
The judge is yet to decide.
Five members of the alleged Ripoll cell were killed by police on 18 August during the Cambrils attack. One police officer shot dead four of the terrorists.
Another two alleged members – including Imam Abdelbaki Es Satty, accused of radicalising the suspects – died in the Alcanar explosion.
Houli's deposition came one day after Abouyaaqoub – believed to be the cell ringleader – was shot dead by police following a days-long manhunt.
Friends and neighbours who knew Abouyaaqoub since childhood said they could still not believe he could be the person behind the deadly assault.
Speaking to news site El Pais, they described him as a shy, "top notch" guy who loved football and cars and who "never got intro trouble".
Before police shot him dead, Abouyaaqoub's mother, Ghanno Gaanimi, publicly urged her son to turn himself in. Abouyaaqoub had four brothers, including Houssaine, killed by police during the Cambrils attack.
The other surviving suspects are Mohamed Aallaa, 27, Driss Oukabir, 28 and Salah El Karib, 34
The four were escorted to the courthouse by Spanish Civil Guards from a detention centre in Tres Cantos, near Madrid.
Oukabir has claimed that he is innocent, in spite of that fact that police discovered his passport in the van that ploughed into pedestrians in Barcelona. Oukabir said that his brother Moussa, who was killed by police in Cambrils, had stolen his documents.