Regional police tweeted that they had shot the man Monday afternoon in an operation amid a massive manhunt for the fugitive from the Barcelona van attack last week.

Spanish policemen control the road to the site where Moroccan suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub was shot on August 21, 2017 near Sant Sadurni dAnoia, south of Barcelona.
Spanish policemen control the road to the site where Moroccan suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub was shot on August 21, 2017 near Sant Sadurni dAnoia, south of Barcelona. (AFP)

Spanish police shot dead on Monday Barcelona terror suspect Younes Abouyaaqoub, in a dramatic end to a massive manhunt for the Moroccan national who was wearing a fake suicide belt when he was killed.

"We confirm the death of Younes Abouyaaqoub shot in Subirats," police in Catalonia tweeted. 

The Moroccan was the last remaining member of a 12-man cell suspected of plotting last week's deadly vehicle rampages in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils that were claimed by Daesh.

Four men have been detained, and the rest have been killed, either by police or in an explosion believed to have been accidentally detonated by the suspects themselves in their bomb factory in the seaside town of Alcanar.

Among those killed in the explosion was a Moroccan imam at the heart of the cell, Abdelbaki Es Satty, Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero confirmed Monday.

Initially Catalan police declined to say if the man, shot in the area of Subirats, west of Barcelona, was dead or wounded.

But in a tweet, they later said: "We confirm that the person shot dead in the incident of #Subirats is Younes Abouyaaqoub, author of the terrorist attack in #Barcelona."

Local media said the man was spotted by a woman in the early afternoon and then fled through vineyards but police managed to find and shoot him on a road near a sewage treatment plant.

The scene unfolded about 40 km (25 miles) from the spot, close to the FC Barcelona soccer stadium on the outskirts of the city, where police said Abouyaaqoub had abandoned a car he had commandeered during his escape.

Police said Abouyaaqoub first fled Las Ramblas on foot amid the chaos of the attack, then hijacked the car, stabbing the driver, 34-year-old Pau Perez, to death before crashing through a police checkpoint.

Abouyaaqoub had been the only one of 12 accomplices still at large. His mother, Hannou Ghanimi, had appealed for him to surrender, saying she would rather see him in prison than end up dead.

Four people have been arrested so far in connection with the attacks: three Moroccans and a citizen of Spain's North African enclave of Melilla. They are currently being taken to the high court in Madrid, which has jurisdiction over terrorism matters.

Abouyaaqoub lived in Ripoll, a town north of Barcelona close to French border.

Police had on Monday earlier named Abouyaaqoub as the driver of the van that caused the carnage in Barcelona.

The death toll in Spain's terror attacks rose to 15, Catalonia's regional minister Joaquim Forn told reporters on Monday, as a victim found stabbed dead in a car in Barcelona was linked to the case.

"We are raising the number of victims from 14 to 15 to include the victim in the vehicle found in Sant Just," he told journalists.

Authorities have stepped up checks at Spain's borders.

They also raided more homes overnight in Ripoll, a town in the foothills of the Pyrenees and close to France where many of the suspects in a 12-strong cell, thought to be behind the Daesh-claimed attack, had lived.

Others thought to be part of the Daesh have been arrested, shot by police or killed in an explosion at a house in Catalonia a day before Thursday's van attack.

The attack in Barcelona was linked to another hours later in the resort down of Cambrils, further down the Mediterranean coastline from Barcelona.

A handout picture provided on August 21, 2017 by Mossos DEsquadras Twitter account shows four pictures and security cameras video grabs depicting 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub. Picture: AFP
A handout picture provided on August 21, 2017 by Mossos DEsquadras Twitter account shows four pictures and security cameras video grabs depicting 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub. Picture: AFP (AFP)

A car crashed into passers-by there and attackers got out to try and stab people. Five suspects were shot dead, while a Spanish woman died in the attack.

Abouyaaqoub abandoned the van after zig-zagging down Las Ramblas avenue at high speed, police have said. Witnesses had seen him walking away unarmed from the scene, they said.

Spanish papers El Pais and La Vanguardia said they had seen images of the man leaving Las Ramblas then crossing through La Boqueria food market, another tourist attraction, before disappearing.

El Pais published CCTV footage on Monday of a man wearing a black and white shirt similar to the one Abouyaaqoub wore when he was caught on a bank security camera the night before the attacks.

Spanish political leaders from all the main parties were also due to meet later on Monday to review security measures as part of cross-party efforts to unite on anti-terrorist efforts.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies