Emergency services say the death toll from Thursday’s terror attacks in Catalonia has risen to 14.
Even as the wounded are being treated and dazed tourists accompanied back to their hotels, in the wake of the van attack, a wide-ranging counter-terror operation mounted by Spanish police is already in full swing.
Officers killed five further attackers in a shootout in the coastal town of Cambrils.
It came after six civilians and a police officer were injured when the attackers ran them over in a car in the town, south of Barcelona. A woman seriously hurt in that incident has now died, taking Thursday’s death toll to 14.
The hunt continues for the driver of the van which ploughed into crowds on Las Ramblas in Barcelona on Thursday. He is believed to have fled the scene on foot after crashing the rented vehicle to a halt. Police have arrested three other people in connection with the attack.
The man police are looking for is teenager Moussa Oukabir, aged 17 or 18, who they believe could have hired the van used in the attack using his older brother’s identity. His elder brother Driss Oukabir is among the three men detained.
The attack seems to have been designed to cause maximum casualties and distress. Las Ramblas is a thronging tourist street in central Barcelona, which in August is packed with people strolling along the tree-lined avenue and browsing the shops and stalls along the way.
Eyewitnesses describe their horror as the van zigzagged through the crowds, sending people flying into the air and leaving bodies strewn in its wake.
At least 13 people were killed and 100 injured in that attack, which mirrors the crude but effective method of earlier lethal attacks in Nice, Berlin, London, Stockholm, and most recently, Charlottesville.
Outside our hotel las ramblas pic.twitter.com/LURysXkbpz— Boin (@Michael_Byrne_) August 17, 2017 So-called Isalmic State has declared responsibility for the attack.
Day of mourning
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy earlier declared a national day of mourning, saying that:
“Regretfully, we Spaniards are familiar with the pain caused by terrorism. We have suffered blows like this in our recent history. But we also know that terrorists can be beaten. They can be beaten through institutional unity, police cooperation, prevention, international support, and the firm determination to defend the values of our civilization: democracy, freedom and human rights.”
World leaders have rushed to offer their support, with French President Emmanuel Macron tweeting his country’s solidarity in Spanish, and former US President Barack Obama sending a personal message of support.
Michelle and I are thinking of the victims and their families in Barcelona. Americans will always stand with our Spanish friends. Un abrazo.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 17, 2017 With our thanks to Michael_Byrne_ and PAVEL_LISOVTSOV via instagram for the amateur footage