Friday 23 February 2018

What we know so far about the terror attacks in Spain

Terrorists struck Barcelona and the seaside town of Cambrils, while there was also an explosion in Alancar.

Emergency workers stand on a blocked street in Barcelona
Emergency workers stand on a blocked street in Barcelona

By Kameron Virk

Terrorists have struck in two separate locations in Spain, with an explosion taking place in a third.

Here’s what is known so far.

What happened

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A man touches a newspaper displaying a photograph of the aftermath of the terror attack in Las Ramblas

Five terrorists wearing suicide belts rammed civilians with a car in a Spanish seaside town before being shot dead by police early on Friday morning.

Seven people, including a police officer, were injured during the incident in Cambrils, hours after a rampaging van driver left 13 people dead and more than 100 wounded in Barcelona.

Bystanders ran for their lives as gunfire broke out close to the coastal town’s beachfront promenade early on Friday morning.

Residents of the popular tourist spot were ordered to take cover indoors as bullets tore through the air and footage later showed several bodies on the ground.

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A police officer gestures, backdropped by an overturned car at the spot where terrorists were intercepted

In the wake of the carnage several controlled blasts were carried out in the area, with police later saying the attackers had been wearing explosive belts.

Mossos, Catalonia’s police force, said four of the attackers were shot dead at the scene and later confirmed a fifth had died of his injuries.

Of the six civilians caught up in the attack, two were said to be in a serious condition.

Is this linked to the Barcelona attack?

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Barcelona terror attack

Investigators said they are working on that theory – that the attacks in Cambrils and Barcelona, as well as an explosion in the town of Alancar on Wednesday, are linked.

Shortly after 5pm local time on Thursday a white Fiat van tore through Las Ramblas, a major tourist attraction packed with families and holidaymakers, in a horror described as “jihad terrorism” by the country’s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy.

The van drove on to the pavement, swerving among pedestrians in a crowded area, and was “clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible”, senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said.

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest on Spanish soil since more than 190 people died in the Madrid train bombs in 2004.

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People take shelter inside a shop in Barcelona

According to the Catalan regional government, citizens from some 24 countries were among those killed and injured, with one Belgian national confirmed to have died.

An Irish family of four were caught up in the attack, with their injuries understood to be non life-threatening.

The mother and father are originally from the Philippines and are naturalised Irish citizens, while their two children were both born in Ireland.

Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs is assisting the family. Its officials opened a hotline in Dublin for anyone concerned about relatives in Spain on 01-408 2000, while the Irish Embassy in Madrid is also fielding calls on +34 9143 64093.

The French foreign ministry said 26 French nationals were injured, including 11 seriously.

Authorities have warned that the death toll may rise, with 15 people receiving treatment for serious injuries.

Have the suspects in the Barcelona attack been located?

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Armed police officers patrol a deserted street in Las Ramblas

A major manhunt for the suspected driver of the van that mowed down holidaymakers and locals in Barcelona, around 68 miles (109km) east of Cambrils, was continuing on Friday.

So far two people have been arrested over the attack – a Spanish national from Melilla and a Moroccan were taken into custody.

The arrests were made in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll and in Alcanar, the site of an explosion on Wednesday night which killed one person and is thought to be linked to the van attack, authorities said.

The whereabouts of the van driver were unclear after police said he made off unarmed.

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Injured people are treated in Barcelona

There were also reports that detectives believe two vans were used -one for the attack and a second as a getaway vehicle.

Hours after Thursday’s attack, police shot and killed a man who was in a car that hit two officers at a traffic blockade on the outskirts of Barcelona. However, Mr Trapero said it was not linked to the van attack.

What have world leaders said?

Theresa May said the UK “stands with Spain against the evil of terrorism” in the wake of recent attacks in Manchester and London.

“I am sickened by the senseless loss of life in Barcelona today,” she said.

“The Foreign Office is working to establish if any British nationals were involved in this appalling incident and we are in close contact with the authorities in Spain, who have our full support.”

US President Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron also tweeted their solidarity.

FC Barcelona said their thoughts are with the city’s people.

Press Association

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