Spanish police kill 5 suspects linked to Barcelona attack

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Barcelona, Aug 18 (AP): Spanish police have shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts who were connected to the Barcelona van attack that killed 14 people, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe’s latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. Two people were arrested after a van veered onto Barcelona’s picturesque Las Ramblas promenade and mowed down pedestrians late on Thursday afternoon.

According to a US monitor, the jihadist organisation’s propaganda outlet Amaq said, ‘Soldiers’ of the Islamic State group carried out a deadly van attack in Barcelona on Thursday.

“The executors of the Barcelona attack were soldiers of the Islamic State,” the Amaq outlet said, quoted by SITE Intelligence Group.

The death toll in a double attack in Spain rose to 14, emergency services said on Friday. The emergency services said a woman injured in the Cambrils attack has died, bringing the total to 14 in both attacks.

The driver fled on foot and remained at large on Friday morning. The Catalan government said police in seaside Cambrils were responding to a terrorist attack early today when they killed five suspects. Mayor Cami Mendoza said the suspects centered their attack on the narrow path to Cambrils’s boardwalk. Catalan Interior Minister Joaquin Forn told local radio the attacks were connected.

A civil protection agency in Spain said on Friday the victims of the double vehicle attack in Spain that left 14 people dead and around 100 injured were from at least 34 different countries. The agency tweeted that among the dead and injured in Barcelona, a city hugely popular with tourists worldwide, and the seaside resort of Cambrils were nationals from France, Pakistan, Spain, the Netherlands, China, Venezuela, Mauritania, Australia and Britain.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has strongly condemned the terror attack in Spain and extended the US’ help to the country. A van driver yesterday ploughed into crowds of pedestrians on Barcelona’s most popular street in broad daylight, killing at least 14 people.

“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” Trump said in a tweet on Thursday. In another tweet, he referred to an American general for taking tough attitude towards terrorists. “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more radical Islamic terror for 35 years!” US Vice President Mike Pence described this as a tragic day and warned the perpetrators of the terrorist attack. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State terror group.

“This latest attack, the worst terror attack on Spanish soil since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, shows us again that radical Islamic terrorism is one of the greatest threats that we face in the world … Whoever is responsible should know that the US, together with our allies, will find and punish those responsible, and drive the evil of radical Islamic terror from the face of the earth,” he said. Pence said this at a joint press conference with the president of Panama where he is travelling now. “This is a tragic day, and the latest scenes of carnage and mayhem sicken us all…People in Barcelona should know, our prayers and the prayers of all of the American people, are with the victims and their families, and all the good people of Spain,” he said.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the US is monitoring the situation and the country is ready to assist law enforcement and national security authorities in Spain. “Our consulates in Barcelona and our entire Mission Spain team are currently assisting Americans in Spain who are affected by these events. We ask US citizens in the area to let your loved ones know you are safe. Terrorists around the world should know the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice,” he said. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said all Americans are horrified and saddened by the news of the vicious terror attack in Barcelona. “Terrorists will not break our strength or our spirit.  While we wait for further news, may the people of Barcelona know that the United States stands in solidarity with them at this dark hour. The US will continue to fight shoulder-to- shoulder with Spain against the vile scourge of terror,” she said.

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