Barcelona is known as a peaceful city, where tourists and inhabitants are bothered only by petty theft from skilled pick pocketers. The police force in Barcelona is effective and well prepared, having always acted quickly in managing to keep the city safe.
Thursday, the 17th
The world is stunned by the events that took place on August 17th. A white van entered one of the most touristic places in the city, Las Ramblas, and sped down the pedestrian area, purposely hitting those who were walking. The result was thirteen deaths and over 100 people injured.
As the day unfolded, the death toll rose to 15, including a man who was stabbed in his own car so that the perpetrator could use it as a getaway vehicle. The jihadist was later identified as Younes Abouyaaqoub, who was eventually shot dead.
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Friday, the 18th
On Friday, a second attack took place in Cambrils, where a black Audi went for pedestrians, killing one woman and injuring six people. The five suspects who were inside the car were shot dead by the police.
It was later determined that the two attacks were connected and were part of a number terrorist events that began with an explosion in a house at Alcanar, on Wednesday night, which killed two suspected jihadists. A third one was arrested. The house that exploded was the headquarter of the jihadists, who were using it to create bombs, possibly for bigger attacks. The arrested man, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, confirmed that when the house exploded, they were forced to come up with a different plan, resorting to the van and car attacks.
Spain is the fifth in a list of countries that have been recently shaken by terrorist attacks, together with France, Germany, Belgium and the UK. The supposed reason for the attack was that Spain is a member of the anti-ISIS coalition.
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Reactions to the attack
Barcelona was quick to react, with hundreds of people volunteering to serve as translators in the local hospitals, psychologists offering free treatment, and people and establishments offering free lodging, food or any other kind of help.
Crowds of people gathered in Las Ramblas to pay tribute and to mourn those whose lives were lost in the attacks. Citizen marched in solidarity with those who suffered losses, chanting “No tinc por” translated meaning “I am not afraid“. Plaça de Catalunya was inundated by the crowds who gathered to show that the nation will not be intimidated by the attacks.
Thousands of Muslims went out into the streets to express their disgust with the acts of those who committed the attacks and to show the Spanish nation that those acts do not reflect the spirit of the Muslim faith.
Several countries have reached out to Spain, offering their support in these troubling times.
* Main photo by JT Curses via Wikimedia Commons
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