Rabat – The family of Driss and Moussa Oukabir, the two brothers involved in Barcelona terror attack, is in shock. In a statement to the AFP, their father, Said Oukabir, said that the two young men “showed no sign of radicalization.”
The relatives of Driss Oukabir, arrested by the Spanish authorities after the attack on Barcelona, and his younger brother Moussa, killed in Cambrils on Thursday night by police, says they are having a hard time believing what happened.
They told the AFP, who met them in Melouiya, a village nestled in the Atlas mountains, that the teenagers had left for Europe “to try their luck on the other side of the Mediterranean.”
“We are in shock, completely heartbroken,” said their father with teary eyes, surrounded by family members, neighbors and friends who came to offer their condolences.
“Spanish police called their mother today, who is in Spain, to tell her that Moussa was dead,” he told AFP shortly before the official announcement on Friday night by the Catalan police.
A photo provided by the Spanish National Police on August 17, shows the Moroccan Driss Oukabir, suspect in the attack of Barcelona. Aged 17, Moussa was killed by a policeman on the night of Thursday to Friday, with other assailants. They had driven an Audi A3 at full speed on the promenade of the seaside resort of Cambrils, Spain.
“We are simple, pacifist people, we do not know either radicalism or terrorism,” a resident of the region, nestled in the center of the kingdom and whose economy depends largely on the transfer of money from established Moroccans in Europe, told the AFP.
Said Oukabir also went to try his luck in Catalonia in the 1990s. After spending his childhood in Aghbala, a rural town not far from their native village, Driss arrived in Spain when was 10 years old. Moussa, aged 17, was born in Ripoll, northern Spain.
The announcement of the alleged involvement of the two brothers in the attacks sent a shock wave through their relatives.
“They showed no signs of radicalization, they lived like the young people of their age, dressed like them,” swore the father of the family.
“Moussa was a nice boy who hurt no one, he was normally attending classes and had to pass his baccalaureate next year,” said his father, adding that the young teenager “recently started praying … but that was it!”
“He was young, still immature, he was undoubtedly manipulated,” Said told the AFP.
“He was gentle, always smiling. He did not smoke, did not drink,” says his uncle, according to whom “the whole region is in shock.”
Driss, however, “left school at an early age to work and make a living,” said the father.
“Today, he is in the hands of God and the police,” he added. “I hope they will say he’s innocent, I do not want to lose both of my children.”