A TERRORIST who was part of the group that carried out the Barcelona attacks last year has said he was ready to confess what they were about to do to his parents and the police.

In evidence to Spain’s National Court, which has been leaked to the media, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, who survived an accidental explosion that killed two of the group at a house in the coastal town of Alcanar, said he was having second thoughts about the attack.

Other members had noticed his demeanour and, because he feared they might kill him, he said he did not sleep in the house the night before the Barcelona atrocity.

In the leaked recordings, Houli Chemlal blamed imam Abdelbaki Es Satty – who died in the blast – for brainwashing members of the terror cell and, according to some reports going as far as drugging them. He said the first contact with Es Satty in their home town of Ripoli came around two years ago, but he added that they did not become radicalised until a few months before the attacks took place.

The recordings cover two court appearances by Houli Chemlal and in them he confirmed the cell’s original target was Sagrada Familia in Barcelona – a Roman Catholic church designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and a magnet for tourists. He said following this, the rest of the group had lost their trust in him and stopped explaining their plans to him. In the event, the group targeted La Rambla, another major tourist attraction, where 14 people died when the terrorists’ van mowed down scores of pedestrians. A 15th person was stabbed to death there and another in nearby Cambrils.

Houli Chemlal said he only remained with the members of the terror cell because he feared for his life. Meanwhile, a group of 13 MEPs from several EU member states yesterday visited pro-independence leaders who have been in jail awaiting trial for up to 10 months. This was the first time visitors from the European Parliament had visited the imprisoned Catalan prisoners after they were forced to wait for authorisation from Spain. In July, the nine former ministers and cultural leaders were moved from jails in Madrid closer to Barcelona, so the visit was authorised by the Catalan administration.

The MEPs are all members of the EU-Catalonia Dialogue Platform, which is trying to persuade the EU to intervene in the conflict between Catalonia and Spain. They included the platform president and former Slovenian foreign minister Ivo Vajgl, along with Irish MEPs Martina Anderson and Lynn Boylan and Flemish and French members.

Catalan pro-independence MEPs Ramon Tremosa, Jordi Sole and Josep Maria Terricabras also joined the visit.