Javier Soriano | AFP | Getty Images
People crowd the Rambla boulevard after observing a minute of silence for the victims of the Barcelona attack at Plaza de Catalunya on August 18, 2017, a day after a van ploughed into the crowd, killing 13 persons and injuring over 100 on the Rambla in Barcelona.
The attack in Spain’s second largest city marked the sixth time in just over a year that a vehicle has been used by an Islamist terrorist to cause mass casualties in a European nation. Similar major incidents have occurred in Germany, France, Britain and Sweden.
“Spain has not really been in the news headlines concerning counter terrorism (but) for some of us that follow exactly what has been going in Spain, it has been extremely active in terms of dismantling cells,” he added.
Spanish officials are now looking for the driver of a van that plowed into pedestrians on Barcelona’s busiest boulevard late Thursday afternoon.
The perpetrator was seen escaping on foot after deliberately driving into crowds of people on Las Ramblas, at around 5:30 p.m. local time, in what police suspect was one of a number of planned attacks. So far four men have been arrested as country-wide anti-terror operations remain underway.
Five men suspected of attempting to carry out a related attack were shot by police early Friday morning in the nearby town of Cambrils. The attackers, who were wearing explosives, were intercepted after driving a car into a crowd of people, killing one and injuring six others. Catalan officials have since suggested that the explosives were fakes.
One person was also killed in an explosion in a property in a separate town 100 miles southwest of Barcelona Wednesday night. Police sources say the residence was being used for preparing explosive devices.