While Barcelona mourns, police foils second attack in Catalonia

DAVID GONZALEZ

Spanish Policemen inspect a street in Cambrils (Tarragona), northeastern Spain, 18 August 2017, where at least four suspected terrorists have been killed by the police after they knocked down six people with their car at Paseo Maritimo.

Five suspects linked to the terrorist cell have been killed, three arrested, but the van driver is still at large


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Thirteen people have been killed by the van that ploughed into people in the main avenue Las Ramplas, in Barcelona.

80 to 100 people have been wounded, according to various reports. People of at least 20 nationalities were amongst the wounded and the dead.

The President of Catalonia, Carles Puigdment has declared three days of mourning to honor the victims of what is now confirmed as a terrorist attack.

The van driver of Las Ramblas has yet to be arrested. Police originally named him as Driss Oukabir, handing his picture to media. However, the man later surrendered to the police suggesting that it was his brother Moussa who stole his documents that is the van driver. Oukabir denies any involvement.

epa06149494 Several people mourn in front of candles and flowers placed on a Spanish artist Miro's mosaic on the site of a deadly van attack in Barcelona, Spain, 18 August 2017. According to media reports, at least 13 people have died and 100 were injured when a van crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona in an incident which Spanish police are treating as a terror attack. Similar attack was conducted in coastal city of Cambrils, where five alleged terrorists, who apparently wore bomb belts, were shot dead by security forces on early morning 18 August after they attacked pedestrians using a vehicle next to a promenade, injuring seven people, including a police officer. Police have stated that the attack in Barcelona and the attack in Cambrils are linked. The Islamic State (IS) has claimed the responsibility for the attack in Barcelona.  EPA/QUIQUE GARCIA  EPA/QUIQUE GARCIA

Several people mourn in front of candles and flowers placed on a Spanish artist Miro’s mosaic on the site of a deadly van attack in Barcelona, Spain, 18 August 2017. EPA/QUIQUE GARCIA EPA/QUIQUE GARCIA

Manhunt and foiling of the second attack

The police detained three men, including a Moroccan and a Spanish national from the North African Spanish enclave of Melilla.

The arrests took place in the towns of Ripoll and Alcanar. One of the three men was the man who rented the van used in Barcelona.

During the raid in Alcanar, one person died and several were injured from what the Catalan News Agency reports was a gas blast. Amongst the injured, there were several firefighters that were at the scene.

epaselect epa06149117 General view of the debris of a house after it collapsed last night due to a gas leak explosion in the village of Alcanar, Catalonia, northeastern Spain, 17 August 2017. Some media are reporting that Catalonian Police suspect that this may be linked to the terrorist attack committed  at the Ramblas in Barcelona in which 13 people have died and 100 were injured when a van crashed into pedestrians.  EPA/Jaume Sellart

General view of the debris of a house after it collapsed last night due to a gas leak explosion in the village of Alcanar, Catalonia, northeastern Spain, 17 August 2017.  EPA/Jaume Sellart

Cambrils

Eight hours after the attack in Barcelona at 01.15, the police managed to prevent a second terrorist attack in Cambrils, a seaside town 120km south of the Catalan capital. The police killed five suspects, some of whom were wearing explosive belts, according to the police.

The attack was intended to be a second ramming through the crowd with a similar vehicle. According to the Catalan News Agency, the regional police is working on the hypothesis that the suspects killed in Cambrils were planning to attack Thursday afternoon, immediately after the attack in Barcelona. They also believe that they original plan entailed the use of explosives, but it was abandoned after an accidental explosion earlier this week.

There six injuries during the pursuit of the suspects, three of whom police officer. A woman was stabbed one of the suspects as he fled.

Islamic State

The so-called “Islamic State” has claimed the terrorist group as its “soldiers,” but the police has yet to establish a direct link with the terrorist group.

Spain has suffered a terrorist attack in Madrid by al-Qaeda in 2004, but if the police established a direct link with IS it would be the first attack by the terrorist organization on Spanish soil.

Reactions

The Islamic Commission of Spain (UCIDE) expressed its “emphatic condemnation and repulsion” of the attack, DW reports, and committed itself to the fight against all forms of terrorism.

Leaders from across Europe expressed their sympathy to the Spanish people, including the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, President Emmanuel Macron, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and Prime Minister Theresa May. Pope Francis is praying for the victims of Barcelona.

From across the world, there was an outpour of solidarity from Argentina and Chile, to Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, who expressed his sadness for the deadly attack and called for a renewal of commitment to “protect the freedom found in societies that promote unity, openness, and inclusion.”

US President Donald Trump called for toughness and strength.

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