Catalonia attacks: Mayor of Vilvorde confirms presence of Imam in commune
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    Catalonia attacks: Mayor of Vilvorde confirms presence of Imam in commune

    The Imam of the small Spanish village of Rippol, in all likelihood, was involved last week’s attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in Spain. He had indeed stayed for a period in Vilvorde. The Mayor of Vilvorde, Hans Bonte, indicated this on Sunday on VRT. He said that Abdelbaki Es Satty was probably in Vilvorde from “January to March of last year.”

    Following the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, investigators wish to know more on the role that Abdelbaki Es Satty may have played. He is the Imam suspected of radicalising several members of the jihadist cell responsible for the attacks.

    Police sources are indicating that the Ripoli Imam may have been killed in the explosion in Alcanar, which occurred the day before the battering ram van attack on Las Ramblas. Police believe that the attacks in Catalonia were planned from the house where the Imam had been staying in Belgium.

    The Spanish media were reporting on Sunday that the Imam went to Belgium several times in recent years and that he may even have lived there. Thus he perhaps lived in Vilvorde and Diegem.

    The Mayor of this commune on the Brussels periphery explained, “I can confirm that he was present in Vilvorde from January to March 2016.” The intelligence that he stayed in Diegem has not been confirmed or denied by the commune’s Mayor.

    The Secretary of State for Immigration and Asylum, Theo Francken, stated on Twitter on Sunday that the Imam, known as indicated above by the name of Adbelbaki Es Satty, was not known to the Immigration Office. “He had thus never requested or received a residence permit in Belgium. He perhaps came to Belgium, but the Immigration Office has no record of this.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times