Spanish officials are to boost security at crowded areas and sites popular with tourists following two attacks in the country. The attacks, both claimed by the Islamic State group, left 13 people dead in Barcelona and one woman dead in Cambrils. There are 53 people still in hospital, 13 of them in a critical condition, while another 78 people have been released after treatment.
Image: Thirteen people were killed in the Barcelona attack and dozens injured
Spain’s interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido confirmed increased security for events that draw large crowds as well as at popular tourist sites. Spanish media also said that security at the border with France was being strengthened, while French police carried out extra border checks on people arriving from Spain. There will be extra security at Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium today, with nearly 100,000 people expected for the team’s first game of the season against Real Betis. The game will include a minute of silence for the victims and Barcelona’s football team will wear black armbands and special shirts, bearing the Catalan words for “We are all Barcelona”.
:: Imam’s home raided as police hunt terror mastermind1 Catalan regional police are mounting road blocks in the northeast of Spain as officers search for at least one man suspected to have been involved in the Barcelona attack, who is still on the run.
Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, is a Moroccan national who was living in the Spanish town of Ripoll, where his flat is one of nine addresses raided by police on Saturday. He is not believed to be among those held or shot dead by police in the coastal resort of Cambrils, where the second attack took place. Earlier, Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia visited the site of the attack at Las Ramblas, placing a wreath and two candles on the ground. They were accompanied by Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont and Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau.
Image: The royals visited victims of the Barcelona attack in hospital
Earlier, the royal couple visited a hospital where many victims from Thursday’s attack were being treated, also speaking with medical staff. Catalan emergency services have said that seven of the 14 victims have been identified from both attacks, including four Spaniards, two Portuguese and an Italian, while family members or government officials have said a US man, a second Italian and a woman from Belgium were also killed. Spanish authorities have also said that the terror cell behind deadly twin attacks has been “dismantled”3. In a news conference, interior minister Mr Zoido said the cell comprised 12 young men, many of them Moroccan, and some teenagers.
“The cell has been completely dismantled,” he told reporters.
- ^ Imam’s home raided as police hunt terror mastermind (news.sky.com)
- ^ The victims of Spain’s terrorist attacks (news.sky.com)
- ^ terror cell behind deadly twin attacks has been “dismantled” (news.sky.com)
Europe’s cities have had to get used to the fact that, of late, the terror threat they face has increased both in size and complexity. The atrocities in Barcelona and Cambrils1 are the latest examples of this. The continent’s police and security agencies have long known that the demise of the so-called Islamic State would signal an increase in the tempo of attacks, and definitely not an end to the threat of Islamist extremists. Three attacks in the UK in as many months were the first indication of the nightmare scenario they feared; that the leaders of this rapidly disintegrating so-called caliphate would compel their footsoldiers to launch attacks across the West. After all, the model for this kind of scenario played out more than a decade ago, when the most feared terror group at that time, al Qaeda, felt the full wrath of coalition airstrikes and ground operations.
Al Qaeda’s leaders urged their followers to strike back – and they duly did, launching attacks in London in 2005 and here in Spain in the capital, Madrid, a year earlier. For the security services, the complicating factor this time around is not just that IS has fully trained killing machines who have trodden the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. The terror group has an even larger army of “sleeper” extremists in towns and cities across the European continent and beyond. Most of these radicalised individuals – 3,500 in the UK alone – have never even been to the Middle East . They learned their deadly craft online. And increasingly they have turned to a less sophisticated, but just as deadly, mode of attack. What do we mean by less sophisticated ?
Vehicles and knives . Essentially everyday items that were never meant to murder or maim. Security sources have told me that they face a two-pronged threat. Alongside those battle-hardened jihadis are the violent wannabe jihadis who lack the skills, but are just as determined to inflict their brand of misery – often on their own communities. Authorities here in Spain and elsewhere in Europe have noticed an alarming increase in the number of those who seem to choose the path of violence.
Most of these plots get disrupted before they have a chance to kill and injure innocent civilians, but sadly some slip through the net.
The unfortunate truth here, is that a net increase in plots will result in a net increase in successful attacks.
Armed police officers are set to be on patrol at V Festival1 this weekend for increased security, as organisers says there will be extra checks. Earlier this year, V Festival organisers Festival Republic said that they were looking into ways to increase security2 in the wake of the Manchester terror attack3 looking into extra ways to protect their fans . Now, V Festival say that they have been working with local authorities at the highest level , and that there will be extra bag checks for fans arriving by car and by foot.
Your safety is our priority and we ve put in place all necessary measures to maximise public safety, working closely with local authorities at the highest level, say V organisers . We ask that you also play a part in keeping Virgin V Festival safe and secure, so please take note of our messages4 . Pack accordingly and stay strong together.
They added: All festival goers will be subject to extra searches of their vehicles, bags and their person.
Please be patient if there are longer queues than normal . We request that you co-operate with any security requests and searches . Please pack light and take note of our bag restrictions.
Speaking in the wake of 22 music fans being killed in the Manchester terror attack, V organisers said5: The festival perimeter, arena, backstage and off-site areas are all robustly controlled and managed by security experts . Festivals are what we do . The hundreds of staff working on these events know them inside out and have been working on them for many years.
Your safety is our utmost concern .
Please review our Personal Safety section on the festival websites and if you have any major concerns please don t hesitate to get in touch. This comes after extra provisions and checks were put in place at Glastonbury 20176. V Festival 2017 welcomes the likes of Jay Z, Pink, Ellie Goulding, Jason Derulo, The Wombats, James Arthur, Stormzy, Craig David, Dizzee Rascal and many more. Check out the weather forecast here7.
- ^ V Festival (www.nme.com)
- ^ V Festival organisers Festival Republic said that they were looking into ways to increase security (www.nme.com)
- ^ Manchester terror attack (www.nme.com)
- ^ please take note of our messages (www.vfestival.com)
- ^ Speaking in the wake of 22 music fans being killed in the Manchester terror attack, V organisers said (www.nme.com)
- ^ extra provisions and checks were put in place at Glastonbury 2017 (www.nme.com)
- ^ Check out the weather forecast here (www.nme.com)