Spain reeling from three separate terrorist attacks; 13 killed and over 100 injured
Europe witnessed the return of terror as Spain was hit by three deadly attacks. The Catalan coast in Spain was witness to three separate terror attacks in the span of 24 hours. The police said that the attacks were the work of a terrorist cell that was determined to "kill as many people as possible". A van was driven into pedestrians on Thursday, 17 August, after 5 pm local time. The attack took place on Las Ramblas avenue in Barcelona, killing 13 people.
Thereafter, the second attack took place in Cambrils. The suspects were driving an Audi A3 and wearing explosive belts as they ran over pedestrians. Six civilians and one officer were injured in the attack.
These two attacks are being linked, by police, to the explosion on Wednesday night in a house in Alcanar. Alcanar is 200km southwest of Barcelona. One person died and several were injured. A second blast took place injuring many emergency services personnel.
These attacks are the most deadly in Spain since Spanish train bombing attacks in March of 2004 that killed more than 190 people.
Here's what we know so far:
- The first attack on Las Ramblas Avenue that killed 13 people has been claimed by ISIS, Catalonia's interior minister Joaquim Forn has confirmed.
- The attack took place shortly after 5 PM local time.
- The Las Ramblas van driver is being hunted down. The driver had escaped the scene according to the police.
- Two suspects being linked to the Barcelona attack are in custody, though neither is the driver.
- One of them is Driss Oukabir. Oukabir told the police that his documents were stolen and used to rent the vans.
- A second van, used as a gateway vehicle for the terror suspects, was found abandoned in Vic about 80kms away.
- Amaq, ISIS' media wing said that the perpetrators of the Barcelona van attack were "soldiers of the Islamic State". ISIS has not directly claimed responsibility.
- Five terror suspects in Cambrils has been killed by the police. Four were shot down. The fifth, arrested and injured, died in custody.
- The terror suspects were wearing suicide vests and the vests were detonated by the police force's bomb squad.
- Before being gunned down, this terorrist injured six civilians and one police officer. Two of them were in critical condition.
- Catalonia’s police chief Joaquim Forn warned, "unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise".
- The two attacks are being linked to an explosion in the town of Alcanar, 200km southwest of Barcelona
- The two explosions at a house in the town of Alcanar was originally thought to be a gas explosion.
- The house in Alcanar was being used to prepare explosives.
- This was the eight attack in Europe, in the past three years, to have used a vehicle.
- The CIA had sent a warning to the Spanish police two months ago saying that Las Ramblas was a potential target.
- The Catalan government confirmed that those injured and killed came from 24 different countries ranging from France, Pakistan, Germany and Philippines.
Leaders worldwide condemn the attacks
- British Prime Minister, Theresa May, condemned the Las Ramblas attack saying that Britain stood firmly with Spain against terrorism.
- United States President Donald Trump took to Twitter saying that the US "“will do whatever is necessary to help”. He added, “be tough & strong, we love you!.”
- The Spanish royal family said that the attackers are "assassins, criminals who won’t terrorise us”. Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy said called the attack “jihadist terrorism” and said a global response was needed.