Spain hunts driver who killed 13 in Barcelona, says foiled bomb plot
Spain organized a radical operation against terrorism Friday after a suspected Islamist has taken to a van in crowds in Barcelona, killing 13 people in what police suspect was a planned attack.
The Islamic state claimed responsibility for the Deadly Mayhem chaos along the city’s most famous avenue, which was full of tourists strolling in the afternoon. The death toll could rise, with more than 100 injured, officials said.
While security forces were hunting the driver of the van, which was seen to escape on foot, police said the attackers killed five Thursday night in Cambrils, a city south of Barcelona, to prevent an attack Separately in Use of explosive belts.
Six civilians and a policeman were injured when attackers in Cambrils were put in a car before police failed to shoot them and produce controlled explosions. Police said the Cambrils incident was linked to the attack by the van in Barcelona.
Before the van plunges into the tree-lined road Ramblas, a person was killed in an explosion in a house in an independent village in southwest Barcelona, according to police. Residents were preparing explosives, a police source said.
Police said they detained a man from Morocco and the Spanish North African enclave of Melilla, but the van driver was not well. A third man was arrested Friday in the town of Ripoll as part of the attack.
It is not yet clear how many people had been involved in the van’s attack and other incidents on Thursday.
The witnesses go attack said white vehicle had high speed zigzagé, Las Ramblas, trampling pedestrians and cyclists, sending shots into the air and leaving bodies scattered in its path.
The wounded and the dead were from 24 different countries, the Catalan government said Friday in a statement from France and Germany to Pakistan and the Philippines. The Spanish press reported that several children had been killed.
CLAIM OF THE ISLAMIC STATE
The QAMA Islamic news agency said: “The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack were soldiers of the Islamic State and led the operation in response to requests from coalition countries” – a reference to a coalition led by the United States against the A Sunni militant group.
Spain has several hundred soldiers in Iraq providing training to local forces in the fight against the Islamic state, but they are not involved in ground operations.
The claim of the Islamic state could not be verified immediately.
If it is confirmed the participation of Islamist militants, it will be the last of a series of attacks in the last 13 months that have used vehicles to the carnage in the streets of the European cities.
This procedure, brutal and very difficult to prevent, killed more than 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.
British tourist Keith Welling, who arrived in Barcelona Wednesday with his wife and 9-year-old daughter, said he saw the van pass the avenue and take refuge in a restaurant when the panic broke out and the crowd began to run.