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Spain to boost security after Barcelona and Cambrils attacks

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.

:: The victims of Spain’s terrorist attacks2

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.

References

  1. ^ Imam’s home raided as police hunt terror mastermind (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ The victims of Spain’s terrorist attacks (news.sky.com)
  3. ^ terror cell behind deadly twin attacks has been “dismantled” (news.sky.com)

Spain to boost security after deadly attacks

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.

:: The victims of Spain’s terrorist attacks2

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.

References

  1. ^ Imam’s home raided as police hunt terror mastermind (news.sky.com)
  2. ^ The victims of Spain’s terrorist attacks (news.sky.com)
  3. ^ terror cell behind deadly twin attacks has been “dismantled” (news.sky.com)

Europe’s cities have got used to increased security threat

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.

References

  1. ^ Barcelona and Cambrils (news.sky.com)