In the wake of the horrific terror attacks in Barcelona that killed 15 people and injured as many as 120, including 7-year-old Julian Cadman, authorities are trying to understand how a group of young Moroccan men went from football teammates who occasionally smoked marijuana together to radical Islamic terrorists.
The man who has emerged as the leader of the group and most influential in their radicalization is the imam from the Annur Islamic mosque in Ripoll, a small Spanish town near the French border.
Abdelbaki Es Satty was hired by the Annur Islamic Community in 2016. But before that, authorities have learned, he was an inmate in the Spanish prison system, convicted in 2012 for smuggling hashish from Morocco into Spain. People who knew him then said that he was not religious and occasionally smoked marijuana. Then he met several al-Qaida members in prison, including Rachid Aglif. Also known as “The Rabbit,” Aglif was serving an 18-year sentence for his part in the 2004 Madrid train bombing that killed 190 people and injured more than 1,000.
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