Spain terror attacks: At least 1 American killed

BARCELONA — The State Department said Friday that at least one American was killed and one was injured in the terrorist attacks in Spain.

A fourth person was arrested Friday and five suspects were shot dead following the van attack in Barcelona and the car attack in the resort of Cambrils that killed 14 people and injured more than 100, Spanish authorities said. Catalan police tweeted that a fourth person was arrested in connection with the two terror attacks without providing further details.

The suspects in custody are three Moroccans and one Spaniard, none of them with backgrounds in terror, the Associated Press reported.

Spanish police shot dead five people in Cambrils, a beach town south of Barcelona, early Friday in an incident thought to be linked to the van attack.
Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero said a single police officer killed four of the suspects.One person died in an explosion at a house in Alcanar on Wednesday night. That incident is also being linked.

The regional president earlier said at least one terrorist was "still out there."

RELATED: Van plows into crowd in Barcelona

Authorities have been hunting for Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old Moroccan, in connection with the van attack.

Thousands of people including King Felipe VI  gathered in Placa Cataluña, the main square in Barcelona's center, for a minute of silence Friday. The tribute ended with long applause and a spontaneous chant: "No tinc por" — Catalan for "I'm not afraid."

Police had said none of the three people arrested earlier was the driver of the white van that plowed through a pedestrian walkway in Las Ramblas, a street popular with tourists in Barcelona, killing 13 people Thursday. The Islamic State claimed responsibility.

The overall death toll rose to 14 Friday after a woman injured when a car plowed into pedestrians in Cambrils died. She has not been identified. The car overturned and the attackers were shot by police when they exited, local media reported. Some of the suspects were carrying explosive belts, Spanish TV reported.

Driss Oukabir, 28, Moussa Oukabir's older brother, was arrested Thursday in the town of Ropill, around 65 miles north of Barcelona, after police found his ID in the van used in the attack. He told authorities that the documents, used to rent the vehicle, had been stolen, according to media reports.

While authorities have not cleared Driss Oukabir of involvement, they are investigating if the younger Oukabir could have used his brother's identity documents to hire the van.

Catalonia Interior Minister Joaquim Forn told Catalunya Radio on Friday that the third suspect was arrested in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll. The other two were detained Thursday in Ripoll and in Alcanar, a town about 120 miles southwest of Barcelona.

Spanish authorities said the dead and injured come from 24 countries.

The first victim named in the attack is Bruno Gulotta, a father of two young children from Italy who was on vacation with his family when he was hit by the van, the Telegraph reported. Belgian officials identified one of the deceased as Elke Vanbockrijck, a woman from the eastern town of Tongeren.

The first Spanish victim to be named was Francisco López Rodríguez, 60, from the southern city of Granada, El Pais reported.  It said his wife was seriously injured and her niece and son were killed.

French authorities said 26 French nationals were among the injured. A number of Germans are also understood to have been hurt.

Las Ramblas, a normally-packed street, was a ghost town Friday morning as a few people strolled on the famous pedestrian mall, with some stopping to lay flowers and light candles to honor the victims.

Many stores and stalls opened in defiance of the terror the day before, as traders swept up trash and debris and hung black ribbons on their stalls to commemorate the dead.

"I live five minutes away from Las Ramblas, so I walk there nearly every day — in fact, I was there a few hours before the attacks with a friend," said Anna Lladó, 38, who works for a Spanish publishing company.

"To feel the horror so close to home makes me feel terrified. Barcelona is a city of peace, welcoming, open and tolerant and we can't allow fear to be stronger than that," she said.

Spanish leader Mariano Rajoy has announced three days of mourning.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) warned regional police two months ago that Barcelona was at risk of a terrorist attack following vehicle attacks in other major European cities, the local El Peridoco newspaper reported Friday.

A total of 178 jihadists were arrested in Spain between 2013 and 2016, said the Combating Terrorism Center, which provides counter-terrorism education to federal, state, and local government in the U.S.

The vehicle attacks are the latest in a chilling terrorism trend that requires little organization, manpower or technological know-how.

Vehicles have been used to plow into pedestrians in the United Kingdom twice this year, including a June attack on London Bridge that killed eight people and a March attack on Westminster Bridge and outside the nearby Houses of Parliament where four pedestrians and one police officer were killed. In late December, a truck plowed into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and wounding nearly 50 others.

© Gannett Co., Inc. 2017. All Rights Reserved


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