Three Dutch among 100 hurt in Spain terrorist attacks; 13 killed

The Lambras in Barcelona
The Lambras in BarcelonaPhoto: Mcal2015 / Wikimedia Commons

Spain was hit by two terrorist attacks. The first in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, the second in Cambrils during the early hours of Friday morning. Thirteen people were killed and over 100 others were injured, including three Dutch, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed. Their condition is not life threatening, NOS reports.

The attack in Barcelona happened around 5:00 p.m. A van drove onto the Ramblas, crashing into dozens of people. Thirteen people were killed and over 100 ended up in hospital, including the three Dutch. The perpetrators fled.

The police launched a manhunt and arrested a total of two suspects, including a 28-year-old man named Driss Oukabir, according to the broadcaster. He was arrested in his hometown of Ripoll. The van involved in the attack was rented under his name. Oukabir claims that he had nothing to do with the attack. He told the police that his passport was stolen and that he was in Ripoll when the attack happened. The second suspect was arrested in the city of Alcanar.

A third suspect crashed his car into police officers just outside Barcelona. Three officers were injured. The suspect was killed in the firefight that followed. The Spanish authorities have thus far been unable to establish a link between this incident and the attack in Barcelona, according to the broadcaster.

Terrorist organization Islamic State claimed the attack about four hours after it happened. In a press conference late on Thursday evening, the police said that neither of the two arrested suspects drove the van. So the perpetrator is still at large.

The second attack happened in the coastal town of Cambrils, some 100 kilos southwest of Barcelona, at around 1:30 a.m. on Friday, according to the broadcaster. Here too a car drove into a police car and the panicking public. The terrorists wore bomb-girdles, and one was waving a knife, NOS reports. Five civillians and two police officers were injured in the attack, two critically. Five terrorists were gunned down. 

The authorities believe that there is a definite connection between the two attacks. A third attack may also have been planned. In Alcanar - 200 kilos southwest of Barcelona, and where one of the two suspects in the first attack was arrested - there was an explosion in a house where explosives were made with gas cylinders. One person was killed in the house. 

Politicians around the world reacted with shock to the attack. 'Horrible images from the Ramblas in Barcelona after a cowardly attack on innocent people", Prime Minister Mark Rutte wrote on Facebook. "A black day in a place where many people from all over the world come together. Our thoughts are with the many victims and wounded. We are following the case. The Netherlands stands ready to help if necessary."

"Disgusting violence in Barcelona, symbol of freedom. Ideal of tolerance now seems defenseless, but will overcome all madness", D66 leader Alexander Pechtold said in response to the attack, according to 

"Terrible act of terrorism in Barcelona that hit so many people", CDA leader Sybrand Buma said. ChristenUnie leader Gert-Jan Segers expressed similar sentiments. "A beautiful summer day in Barcelona changed into a dark tragedy. Evil never wins. I sympathize and pray for the wounded and their family."