Spain Investigates 'Connected' Terror Attacks

Police respond at an incident in Barcelona. Jordi Sans

The Spanish Football League has confirmed that the opening weekend of matches of the competition will go ahead following the terrorist attacks in Barcelona which have left 13 people dead and around 100 injured, and the subsequent incident in the nearby town of Cambrils which saw 5 terrorists killed by police as they attempted a second assault. In the French city of Nice, 86 people were killed past year when a truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille day. Police are investigating whether the attacks are linked to an earlier incident in Alcanar, a beach town 120 miles south of Barcelona, where a house that may have been the site of a terrorist cell exploded, killing one and wounding seven others. Last year, trucks plowed through crowds in Berlin and Nice.

Police now say they believe explosives were being prepared at the property.

This is the deadliest attack in Spain since March 2004, when Islamist militants placed bombs on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,800.

"FC Barcelona wants to express its profound sorrow and utter disgust at the terrorist attack that has hit the heart of our city, La Rambla de Barcelona".

The Eiffel Tower was plunged into darkness this morning in solidarity with the victims of the Barcelona van attack as iconic landmarks around the world paid tribute to those caught up in Spain's 24 hours of terror.

"Every now and again there would be a surge of people starting to run, not knowing how these people operate, you had to run with the crowds".

Police arrested two people - a Moroccan and a Spaniard - but it was not immediately clear how they are connected with the attacks.

At least three of the men were killed in the attack in Cambrils, the Spanish intelligence official said, without identifying which of the men were believed killed.

Real Madrid star forward Ronaldo took to his Twitter account to express his distress at the Barcelona attack.

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Since then, there have been unsuccessful attempts at carrying out further attacks and plans foiled by authorities.

Spain has been at the second-highest terror alert level since the jihadist attacks against French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2014, the paper reported. "We are monitoring the situation closely and stand ready to provide consular assistance to any affected USA citizens".

"We have a history here also of radicalization, which makes it easier for whoever wants to carry on an attack to recruit, to find the funds, find the infrastructure, the support", she said.

Barcelona is the capital of the wealthy northeastern region of Catalonia, which plans to hold a popular vote on October 1 on whether it should secede from Spain. "Catalonia and Spain, all the best for the future".

But Cas Mudde, associate professor at the University of Georgia's department of global affairs, said he doesn't believe Spain was specifically targeted.

A van entered a pedestrian area at the junction of Las Ramblas and Placa Catalunya at around 5pm local time yesterday and ploughed into a sea of shoppers and tourists. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.

- One American was killed in the terror attacks, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was in contact with authorities, and the priority was to attend to the injured.


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