Our hearts go out to those affected
On Thursday evening, at least 13 people were killed and over 80 injured in a terrorist attack when a van deliberately rammed into people at Las Ramblas, one of Barcelona’s most popular areas.
There was a second similar attack further south in Cambrils later in the day, where seven people were injured when an Audi A3 drove into crowds and two have been seriously injured, including a police officer. One woman has since died of her injuries. However, the Cambrils attack was thwarted after police shot and killed five people responsible.
An explosion in a home in Alcanar is also believed to be connected to both crimes as a base for creating butane bombs.
Everything we know about the Barcelona Attack
At 5pm in Barcelona, a white van drove into a pedestrianised zone of Las Ramblas. 13 people were killed and over 80 have been injured in the attack, though the death count is expected to rise as 32 are reported to be in critical condition according to The Independent.
People who were there have opened up about the chaos, with Aamer Anwar telling The Telegraph, ‘All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.’
Ali Shirazinia who was also there told CNN, ‘I saw people flying into the air and everyone was running into the shops on either side. I saw a lot of ambulances, I saw a lot of emergency vehicles almost immediately.’
Two suspects, one from Morocco and another from Melilla, barricaded themselves in a nearby Turkish restaurant after fleeing the vehicle and have since been arrested. However the driver of the vehicle has yet to be found, though a second white van believed to be a getaway vehicle has been found in the neighbouring village Vic. A third arrest in Ripoll has also been made.
Police have identified Moussa Oukabir as a main suspect and believe he was driving the vehicle at the time. Different outlets have reported that he is either 17 or 18 years old. His older brother Driss Oukabir is also a person of interest in the investigation, as his documents were used to hire the van. However he told police that his identity documents had been stolen and were reportedly found at the scene of the attack. According to a Spanish paper called El Periodico, Driss had explicitly named his brother as the thief.
The tragedy has been named a terrorist attack and ISIS has claimed responsibility through Amaq, their social media wing. Their post reads, ‘The executors of the Barcelona attack were soldiers of the Islamic State’ and claim that Barcelona was targeted for their involvement in the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. However, it has yet to be verified if the attack was actually co-ordinated by ISIS.
Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona’s most popular streets for both locals and tourists, with cafes, monuments and bars. Footage of the incident shows that many fled into nearby establishments to escape from the deadly attack. Catalan authorities have confirmed that there are 34 different nationalities amongst those affected by the attack, with places such as the UK, Germany, Belgium and Hong Kong confirming that their citizens have been killed or injured. The Guardian has reported that the youngest victim is believed to be three years old.
It is the deadliest attack in Spain since 2004, when a group of terrorists inspired by Al Qaeda detonated explosions across public trains in Madrid. 192 were killed in the bombing.
Everything we know about the Cambrils Attack
In the early hours of Friday morning, a second motor attack took place at a beach resort. An Audi A3 was used to drive into people and seven were injured, including a police officer. Two were critically injured and it has just been announced that a woman has succumbed to her injuries and passed away.
The Audi flipped in the course of the attack and five men wearing what appeared to be explosive belts emerged from the vehicle. All five were shot with four dying at the scene, however the fifth eventually died of his injuries. The explosive belts were later confirmed to be fake by Catalan police, according to El Pais.
Fitzroy Davies, who was there at the time, told Sky News about the moment one of the attackers was shot. He said, ‘He came running up, he had silver stuff on him, he had a thing in his hand, and then somebody shouted ‘police’ and then within 30 seconds the police came.
Next thing you know, they’ve drawn their guns and they were shouting at the guy and then shots were fired. He then fell down and then within two seconds he stood back up. He then stepped over the fence, charged the police again and the police then gave some more shots and then he fell down again.
I couldn’t understand what he was saying but he was just shouting something and he was going up and down the street and the police were saying ‘stop’, it must have been ‘stop, stop’, or whatever, and he kept charging until, in the end, they shot him.’
Catalan authorities have officially linked it to the Las Ramblas attack.
Everything we know about the Alcanar Explosion
A house in Alcanar exploded on Wednesday and while it was initially believed to be a gas explosion, further investigation revealed that the house was full of butane gas bottles. One person was killed and another wounded, as well as police and firefighters when a second explosion went off.
The police believe that it is directly linked to the cell responsible for the car rammings and that they intended to use them for a large scale bomb attack. The police believe that the explosion occurred while bombs were being prepared by the cell.
In the wake of the terror attacks
Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature, which allows people to confirm if they are safe if they have been affected by a natural disaster or attack. People have also been asked to call +34 93214 2124 if they require further information about the Las Ramblas attack.
The Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau has announced that the Basic Emergency Municipal Plan has been triggered in response. After being cordoned off by police, Las Ramblas has now been reopened to the public.
A minute of silence has been held in Barcelona, which was attended by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and King Felipe VI. After the silence ended, several minutes of applause followed and then the crowd began chanting ‘No tenim por’ which translates to ‘We are not afraid’.
We will continue to update this story as more news emerges.