Fourteen people have died and many more have been injured in three terror-related incidents in Catalonia, Spain, including yesterday’s attack in Barcelona.
Around 5 pm local time on Thursday, a person driving a white van slammed into pedestrians in a crowded tourist area of Barcelona killing 13 people and injuring more than 100 from 34 different countries, authorities said. At least one victim is from the United States. Fifteen are in serious condition, 23 are moderately hurt, and 42 have other ailments.
The van driver remains at large and appears to be unarmed, officials said. But police have so far arrested four suspects in connection to what they are calling a terrorist attack. One of the attackers is from Melilla, Spain and another is from Morocco; the nationalities of the other two are still unknown.
Police say the four suspects did not have any prior connections to terrorism-related events, but Spain’s President Mariano Rajoy said the attack was the result of "jihadist terrorism."
Further, the identities of the driver, suspects, and their motivations are still to be made public. ISIS has taken credit for the attack through its official media outlet, but police have not said whether the terrorist group was actually involved in any way.
Around 2:30 am local time on Friday, authorities killed five terror suspects in the coastal city of Cambrils. Police believe they were planning an attack there and may be connected to the earlier strike in Barcelona. A woman who sustained injuries during the Cambrils incident died Friday morning; about five others were injured. The terrorists were wearing belts with "simulated explosives," law enforcement said, and also wielded an ax and knives in the car they were found in.
Authorities are also looking into an explosion at a house in Alcanar, which is about 125 miles southwest of Barcelona, that took place before the Las Ramblas attack. One person died in the incident. Police currently believe the Barcelona and Cambrils incidents were planned in Alcanar — linking all three events.
Another driver knocked down two police officers at a checkpoint on Barcelona’s outskirts. It remains unclear if that incident was related to the Las Ramblas attack.
Rajoy is now in Barcelona to coordinate with officials there, and members of the local government’s Crisis Cabinet have met to decide what further action is required.
In a personally written tweet, Rajoy sent out a unifying message to Spaniards: “The terrorists will never defeat a united people who love freedom in the face of barbarism. All of Spain is with the victims and their families.”
Spain’s King Felipe VI put out an even more forceful message: “They are murderers, simply criminals that cannot terrorize us.”
President Trump released a statement on Twitter condemning the attack almost immediately:
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
The police have also said that there is was no other attacker holding hostages in a nearby bar, despite local media reports claiming so.