‘Jihadist attack’ kills 13 in Barcelona
August 18th, 2017 at 12:54 pm
‘Jihadist attack’ kills 13 in Barcelona

International desk – At least 13 people have been killed and many others wounded after a suspected terrorist plowed a van into dozens of people enjoying a sunny afternoon on one of Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfares in Spain, media reports said.

Spanish police say they have killed five suspected terrorists in the town of Cambrils to stop another vehicle attack, after the one in Barcelona.

The men, wearing explosive belts, were linked to the first attack, police say.

In the first attack, the van hit crowds in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona. The driver fled and is still at large.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy described it a “jihadist attack”, which so-called Islamic State said it had carried out.

Rajoy has announced three days of national mourning and a minute’s silence will be held later on Friday, according to BBC report.

The authorities are now also linking the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils with an explosion at a house on Wednesday evening in the town of Alcanar that left one person dead.

Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said it appeared the residents at the Alcanar house had been “preparing an explosive device”.

This was the worst terrorist attack in Spain terrorist attack in more than a decade, New York Times reported.

The newspaper said the Catalan police said they foiled a second van attack, in the seaside town of Cambrils, 70 miles to the south, fatally shooting four people. A fifth died later of wounds, the police said.

Six civilians and one police officer were injured during the episode, the Catalan emergency services said.

The Barcelona attack was at least the sixth time in the past few years that assailants using vehicles as deadly weapons have struck a European city.

The police cordoned off the Plaza de Cataluña and Las Ramblas in the heart of Barcelona, both tourist destinations, and began a chaotic pursuit for the attackers.

Two people were later arrested, including a Moroccan man whose identification documents had been used to rent the van. The Barcelona police said neither was believed to be the driver, who escaped on foot and remained at large on Thursday night.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Barcelona assault, which shattered a peaceful afternoon in one of Europe’s most picturesque cities.

US President Trump and other Western leaders quickly condemned the attack and pledged cooperation.

Witnesses described people screaming and running for their lives as the van driver wove back and forth just after 5:30 p.m., apparently trying to hit as many people as he could.

Police officers swept through the area near Las Ramblas, a wide boulevard with a large pedestrian section, moving people out of the area.

Videos taken by witnesses and posted online showed men, women and children motionless on the ground amid broken umbrellas and chairs, in the shade of trees, many bleeding profusely. Paramedics and friends knelt to comfort them as police sirens wailed, according to the NYT.