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EOS Alerts 18-8-2017

Spain: Islamic State Claim Responsibility for Attack in Barcelona

14 killed and at least 100 injured in two vehicle attacks in Las Ramblas and Cambrils

On 17 August, 14 people were killed and up to 100 injured, after a man drove a van into crowds in Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Citizens of 24 countries were killed and/or injured in the terrorist attack. The driver of the van, believed to be the sole attacker, fled on foot and is still being hunted by police. Two men have been detained in connection with the attack, which Islamic State have claimed responsibility for on their Amaq News Agency.

On 18 August, seven people were injured, including one police officer, in a second vehicle attack when a car was driven into them in the popular seaside resort of Cambrils. One person is said to be in a critical condition. Spanish police say they have shot dead five suspected terrorists in the town of Cambrils in connection to the second vehicle attack. The men are said to have been wearing explosive belts. The explosives have been dealt with in a series of controlled explosions and did not result in any loss of life.

Officials have linked the two attacks to an earlier explosion that destroyed a house in Alcanar, which killed one person and injured at least one other. Police have reported that explosives were detonated whilst being prepared at the property. Spanish authorities believe a cell of at least eight people may have been involved in the attacks.

The recent attacks in Spain are the deadliest since 2004, when Islamic extremists carried out simultaneous, coordinated bombings against the Cercanías commuter train system of Madrid, killing 192 people and injuring around 2000. Barcelona is the latest European city to witness a vehicle attack. In Nice a year ago, Bastille Day celebrations were targeted, then a Christmas market in Berlin. In London, Westminster and London Bridge, as well as Finsbury Park, have seen cars and vans used as weapons.

Barcelona is known as a focal point of jihadist radicalisation in Spain. A study published in June by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Centre, found that of the 178 individuals arrested in Spain in the last three years for terrorism-related activities, almost a quarter came from Barcelona.

It is advisable to be aware of the serious threat of Islamic extremism and terrorism in Western countries. Take care in densely populated tourist areas. Report any suspicious packages, activity or behaviour to the local authorities and remain vigilant.

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