While Barcelona mourns, police foils second attack in Catalonia

Rufina Vignone
Agosto 19, 2017

In Barcelona, 13 people were left dead and more than 100 injured when a van ploughed into pedestrians in the city's busy Las Ramblas street, leaving victims strewn in its wake. In the French city of Nice, 86 people were killed a year ago when a truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille day.

Vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in a series of militant attacks across Europe since July 2016, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.

Spain is known to have well-trained and robustly resourced counter-terrorism forces.

"The executors of the Barcelona attack were soldiers of the Islamic State", the Amaq outlet said, quoted by SITE.

The explosion meant the attackers were unable to use material they were planning to deploy in attacks in Barcelona, Cambrils and perhaps elsewhere, he said.

According to reports, if a person has to live or spend a lot of time in the disaster affected area, they are asked to activate the "safety check features".

Police described a separate incident in which a vehicle trying to get past a Barcelona checkpoint hit an officer and another person, police said. However, the man later surrendered to the police suggesting that it was his brother Moussa who stole his documents that is the van driver.

Real Madrid star forward Ronaldo took to his Twitter account to express his distress at the Barcelona attack.

"I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that", eyewitness Tom Gueller told the BBC.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Rasmussen said Europe has "again been attacked by terror".

Deeply saddened by the attack on our city. He said diplomats from the US consulate in Barcelona are working with local authorities to identify victims and provide assistance to other Americans in need.

Spain is the world's biggest tourist destination after France and the USA and the Catalan city of Barcelona is among its star attractions.

"We have a history here also of radicalization, which makes it easier for whoever wants to carry on an attack to recruit, to find the funds, find the infrastructure, the support", she said. "Catalonia and Spain, all the best for the future".

Like other European countries, Spain has also struggled to accommodate the increasing number of migrants entering the country in recent years - including through the Spanish enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in North Africa. Greece's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on its website that one Greek national was injured.

People injured when a van crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona.

Some eight hours later in Cambrils, a city 120km south of Barcelona, an Audi A3 auto hit pedestrians, injuring six civilians - one of them in a critical condition - and a police officer.

Messi added on Instagram: "I would like to send my condolences and all my support to the families and friends of the victims of the awful attack on our beloved Barcelona, as well as totally reject any act of violence". Rajoy's government has declared three days of mourning across Spain.

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