NEWS

Barcelona Terror Attacks: Spanish Police Shoot Five Suspected Terrorists In Cambrils Linked To Las Ramblas Incident

5 shot dead

18/08/2017 11:35 SAST | Updated 18/08/2017 11:35 SAST
  • A van rammed into pedestrians on a popular tourist street in Barcelona Thursday evening, killing 13 and injuring more than 100.
  • Authorities have arrested two suspects, but the driver is still at large.
  • In Cambrils, 70 miles south of Barcelona, police said they killed five terrorists who ran over several people in a car. At least one was wearing a bomb belt, which authorities later determined to be fake.
  • Police detained one suspect in connection with the Cambrils attack early Friday.
  • Authorities said they are investigating possible links between the attacks in Cambrils and Barcelona, and an earlier explosion in the town of Alcanar, 120 miles from Barcelona.

Five suspected terrorists have been killed in the Spanish town of Cambrils as police foiled a second terrorist attack following an earlier one in Barcelona which claimed thirteen lives.

Seven people - including a police officer - were wounded in Cambrils after a car was driven into them early on Friday morning, officials said. One victim remains in critical condition.

Police shot the five men involved in the attack, who were wearing explosive belts and are believed to be linked to the first attack in Barcelona.

According to Reuters, a series of controlled explosions were then carried out by police.

Catalonian police announced on Twitter this morning that the belts worn by the suspects were fake explosives.

Authorities say that the situation in Cambrils is now under control.

One witness described seeing one of the suspects "taunting" police, "smiling" at officers after they had initially shot him.

Fitzroy Davis, who was in Spain for a judo event, told the BBC: "He stood back up and then he stepped over the fence and he started, he was taunting, smiling and he carried on walking to the police, and then they gave it to him again, a couple more shots and then he fell to the ground."

LLUIS GENE via Getty Images
<strong>The overturned car that ploughed into pedestrians in Cambrils was overturned during the incident </strong>
LLUIS GENE via Getty Images
<strong>Police check the area after officers shot dead fire attackers in Cambrils </strong>

The incident came just hours after a van was driven into crowds in the busy tourist area of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, leaving 13 dead and more than 100 injured.

The driver is still at large, having fled from the scene by foot. So-called Islamic State have taken responsibility for the attack.

Authorities are now investigating possible links between the two attacks and an earlier explosion that destroyed a house in the town of Alcanar, about 120 miles from Barcelona.

One person was killed and seven were injured in the blast, with police saying that residents were preparing explosives, Reuters reported.

ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES
<strong>A woman cries at the area after a van plowed into a crowd in Barcelona</strong>

Spanish police continue to search for the Barcelona van driver, while three suspects have already been arrested.

Police said they had arrested a Moroccan man and a second supect from Spain's north African enclave of Melilla.

A third man was arrested in Ripoll, a town in Catalonia, on Friday in connection with the attack.

Witnesses to the van attack said the vehicle had zigzagged at high speed down Las Ramblas, ramming pedestrians and cyclists, sending some hurtling through the air and leaving bodies strewn in its wake.

British tourist Keith Welling, who arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday with his wife and 9-year-old daughter, told Reuters they saw the van drive past the down the avenue.

"People were shouting and we heard a bang and someone cried that it was a gunshot," he said.

"Me and my family ran into the restaurant along with around 40 other people."

A statement by the Catalan government said that victims of the incident came from 24 different countries, including France, Germany, Pakistan and the Philippines.

This morning, Spain's deputy prime minister announced a Belgian woman was among those killed in the attack. She has not been named.

Meanwhile, an official from the Philippines embassy in Madrid told RTE Radio One that an Irish family who were in Barcleona to celebrate their son's birthday were among those caught up in the attack.

The father - a naturalised Irish citizen born in the Philippines - was hit on his side and may require an operation. The mother and children are not believed to have been seriously injured.

PAU BARRENA via Getty Images
<strong>Witnesses of the Barclona attack comfort each other in the aftermath of the incident </strong>

The self-described Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack via its Amaq news agency. However, it is unclear to what extent, if any, the group's leadership was directly involved.

Police said the incident was a terror attack, but later tweeted they could not confirm the driver's motive.

The attack occurred on Las Ramblas, a historic street leading to a central plaza in Barcelona. A pedestrian walkway runs down the center of the street, with cars driving on either side.

Eyewitnesses described being locked in to churches and shops for their own safety after people clamoured to run away. One British tourist describing a "mini stampede" as people fled screaming.

Authorities immediately locked down the area, shutting metro stations and asking businesses to close.

"I heard a crowd screaming," said Tom Markwell, a tourist from New Orleans. "It sounded like they were screaming for a movie star."

Speaking yesterday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged people to focus on serving the wounded and facilitating the work of authorities.

He later tweeted that he was heading to Barcelona, and said the government would take measures to reinforce security. The government declared three days of mourning.

Leaders from around the world also condemned the attack, offering support for Spain.

Theresa May said last night her thoughts were with the victims of the "terrible attack" in Barcelona, adding: "The UK stands with Spain against terror".

President Donald Trump also tweeted a statement on the attack, saying that United States would do whatever is necessary to help.

But shortly after his measured initial statement, Trump tweeted a tirade against "Radical Islamic Terror" and referenced an apocryphal story he's told in the past about killing Muslim insurgents with bullets dipped in pig's blood.

JOSEP LAGO via Getty Images
<strong>The van that ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas is towed away </strong>

The attack in Barcelona was the deadliest in Spain since 2004, when al Qaeda-inspired militants detonated bombs on Madrid's subway system, killing 191 and injuring more than 1,800.

It follows recent attacks on London Bridge, Westminster and Nice, with car and truck attacks killing more than 100 people across Europe in recent years.

Extremist groups have long advocated for their supporters to use vehicles to target pedestrians, and authorities have struggled with ways to address the threat.

The majority of the recent attacks in Europe were carried out by Islamic State militant group sympathisers, and the organisation has actively incited individuals to kill people with vehicles.

In the deadliest of such incidents, the Islamic State claimed responsibility after a man drove a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice and killed 84 people.

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