BARCELONA — Fourteen civilians are dead and over a hundred have been injured, following twin vehicle attacks in the city of Barcelona and then in the Catalan coastal town of Cambrils. Five of the terror suspects were killed in a shootout with the police following the Cambrils incident—including 17-year-old Moussa Oukabir who had been reported as the driver of the van that rammed into crowds of pedestrians.
On 17 August 2017, a white van plowed into tourists visiting Las Ramblas, one of Barcelona’s busiest attractions: It was driven more than 1,700 feet along a known pedestrian walkway, ramming into civilians before crashing against a kiosk. Thirteen died, and over a hundred civilians were hospitalized. Officials cautioned that the death toll could still rise.
On the earling morning of 18 August 2018, a white Audi hit a crowd in Cambrils, which lies some 120 kilometers southeast of Barcelona. One civilian died in the incident.
Police opened fire at the suspects, killing four. The fifth suspect, believed to be the driver of the van in Barcelona, died from wounds sustained during the shootout. A single police officer killed four of the suspects, after his partner died in the encounter.
The police, working closely with Spanish counterterrorism officials, believe the twin attacks to be part of a large-scale terrorist plot. Authorities believe that at least eight people are behind the attack, putting the scope at the level of infamous Europe-based incidents.
The authorities are currently investigating possible links between the vehicular assaults and a pair of explosions in Alcanar, a town about 200 kilometers southeast of Barcelona, that occurred on the same day. One person was killed in the incident and 16 were injured, including police officers and firefighters who were investigating the initial blast.
Police are speculating that the holiday house in Alcanar served as the bomb-making factory by the suspects in the Barcelona and Cambrils attack. Police believe that the suspects were trying to build a massive explosive device, which exploded prematurely, and initially planned to detonate it in city centers through vans filled with propane tanks. Investigators are still scouring the rubble for more information.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Spanish officials report that the killed terror suspects had no known links to jihadism.
France has tightened security at the border following the attacks.
2017 has seen eight major terrorism incidents via vehicular assaults in member-countries of the European Union and in London—just last week, a car drove into a crowd of soldiers in Seline, France, injuring six. The Barcelona attacks are the worst terror attacks Spain has seen since 2004, when nearly two hundred people died in train bombings in Madrid.