Spain knife attacker was gay and suicidal


The body of a man who tried to attack a police station is carried out of the premises in Cornella near the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona. (AFP pic)

BARCELONA: A man shot dead as he tried to attack a Spanish police station had come out as gay and wanted to commit suicide, a source close to the probe said Tuesday based on testimony of the assailant’s wife.

Abdelouahab Taib, a 29-year-old Algerian man, invoked the name of Allah during the assault early Monday morning in the town of Cornella de Llobregat in the region of Catalonia.

Authorities are treating the incident as a “terrorist attack” although the source, who refused to be named, said “there don’t appear to be any signs of jihadism.”

The source said that in her declaration to police, Taib’s wife, a Spaniard who reportedly converted to Islam after meeting him, said he had recently told her he was homosexual.

“She said she had left him, that he had revealed his homosexuality and that he was disturbed about how that fit in with the Muslim religion,” the source added.

“We’re putting this down to confusion, a suicide attempt. There are some who do it throwing themselves off a bridge, he opted for this method.

“We’re basing ourselves on his wife’s testimony, who says he had not veered towards extremism.”

Catalonia’s regional interior minister Miquel Buch, however, insisted Tuesday on Spanish radio that “for now it’s a terrorist attack according to the information we have.”

Taib arrived at the closed police station in Cornella de Llobregat near Barcelona at 5:45 am (0345 GMT) on Monday and repeatedly pressed the buzzer to be let in, Rafel Comes, a commissioner with the Mossos d’Esquadra, told reporters.

After police allowed him in, the man pulled out a “large knife” and lunged at officers in “a clearly premeditated desire to kill an agent of our force,” Comes said on Monday.

“The officer used her gun to save her own life,” Comes said, adding the man shouted “Allah” as well as words the police officers did not understand.

“These are enough indication to treat the events being investigated as a terrorist attack,” he said.