February 23, 2018 / 3:41 PM / in 7 months

France steps up probe of suspect in Spain's August attacks - source

PARIS (Reuters) - One of three people arrested on Tuesday in France in connection with Islamist attacks in the Spanish region of Catalonia in August was put under formal investigation on Friday while the other two were freed, a judicial source said.

The man kept in custody over suspicions of being linked to a terrorist group was born in 1986, the source said, without giving any more details.

There was no evidence that would have justified extending the full probe to the other two at this stage, the source said.

Under French law, the placing of a suspect under formal investigation means that prosecutors believe they have “serious or consistent evidence” that could result in prosecution. But the investigation could also be dropped.

The three were arrested over suspicion of links to Driss Oukabir who is in custody in Spain. He is charged with membership of a terrorist organisation and murder for his part in a Barcelona van attack that killed 14 people in August. He has denied involvement.

In the attack, a man drove a rented vehicle into crowds in Barcelona’s famous Las Ramblas boulevard on Aug. 17, killing 14 and injuring more than 100.

One day later, police shot dead five people in Cambrils, down the coast from Barcelona, after they drove their car at pedestrians and police officers, killing a woman.

Reporting by Caroline Pailliez and Emmanuel Jarry; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Alison Williams

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