Barcelona is the latest city to fall victim to a jihadist terrorist attack, as police foiled a second vehicle attack in a nearby coastal town overnight. Police have confirmed that 13 people have died, and 100 people injured after a van drove into pedestrians on Las Ramblas in the centre of the city yesterday afternoon. A subsequent attack, in the nearby coastal town of Cambrils, was foiled in the early hours, after police shot dead five suspected terrorists wearing fake bomb belts. Four of the suspects were shot by the same officer. Police believe the incident in Cambrils, in which a number of civilians were injured, is linked to the Las Ramblas attack.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed the Barcelona attack was carried out by jihadists. Isis has since claimed responsibility for the incident. In a statement, it said:
"The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states."
Four people have been arrested in connection with what happened in Barcelona. A major manhunt is underway for the driver of the vehicle involved. Eyewitnesses have spoken of a van going 'full pelt' along the pedestrianised street which was, as it usually would be at the height of the summer season, packed with tourists and locals. In the chaotic aftermath of the attack, there were reports that two suspects had taken cover in a nearby restaurant. Police have denied this happened.
The scene of the attack is new - Spain has avoided a major terrorist atrocity since the Madrid train bombing of 2004, in which 192 people died (though a number of plots have been foiled). But the method apparently used in this incident is all too familiar: the crudest of weapons - a van - driven into pedestrians with no chance of defending themselves or escaping.