Terror Attack in Barcelona

Global Rescue Intelligence

August 17, 2017

Categories: Advisories, Alerts, Destinations, Safety, Security and Intelligence,

At least 13 dead, 50 injured in Barcelona attack

The Global Rescue Intelligence Team is monitoring an ongoing situation in Barcelona, Spain, where a vehicle rammed into a crowd of people in the Las Ramblas area earlier today. Below is the team’s report as of 15:00 Eastern on Thursday, 17 August:

Event Summary:

Authorities confirmed that at least 13 people were killed and 50 others injured in a vehicle ramming terrorist attack in the Las Ramblas area near Placa de Catalunya in Barcelona on 17 August. At least ten victims were injured seriously. The driver of the van reportedly fled on foot and authorities have made one arrest in connection with the attack. There are also reports that one suspect has been killed in a shootout with police.

Earlier reports stated that two gunmen had also entered a nearby restaurant, Luna de Istanbul, and possibly took hostages, but local police have refuted this. Unconfirmed reports earlier indicated that gunfire was heard in the area of the La Boqueria Market. It remains unclear currently how or whether the incidents are related.

The US Consulate in Barcelona has advised US citizens to avoid the Las Ramblas area and to follow local media. Nearby metro and train stations have been closed and the area has been evacuated.

The situation is ongoing and details are continuing to emerge.

Analysis:

Las Ramblas is a popular tourist destination in Barcelona with many shops, restaurants, cafes, and other attractions. 

There have been numerous vehicular ramming attacks within the past year as terror groups like the Islamic State (IS) have encouraged their followers to use this tactic, which requires little in terms of training or equipment and is easily executed by ‘lone wolf’ attackers. Authorities and security personnel in cities around the world have been on high alert recently after a number of recent vehicle ramming terrorist attacks, including in France and the United Kingdom. Most recently, on 9 August, six French soldiers were injured in a car ramming attack in Levallois-Perret, a suburb to the west of the capital, Paris. Since July 2016, more than 100 people have been killed in vehicle ramming attacks in France, Germany, United Kingdom, and Sweden.

Advice:

  • Personnel are advised to avoid the Las Ramblas area until the situation is deemed safe.
  • Expect significant travel disruptions in the affected areas due to police activity.
  • Monitor the local media for further updates.

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