Barcelona and Cambrils attacks: What, where and why?

Barcelona and Cambrils attacks

Separate attacks have taken place in Spain’s Catalonia region. Here is what is known so far. 

What happened and when? 

  • On Thursday at 4:50 pm local time (14:50 GMT), a white van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians on the famous Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona.

  • Witnesses said the vehicle zigzagged at high speed down Las Ramblas, ramming pedestrians and cyclists. The van knocked many to the ground and sent others fleeing for cover in shops and cafes. 

  • Witnesses described scenes of chaos and panic with bodies strewn along the boulevard.

  • Eight hours later in Cambrils, a city 120km south of Barcelona, a black Audi A3 sedan hit more pedestrians.

  • Five attackers, some of whom appeared to be wearing suicide belts, were shot dead by police. Authorities later confirmed the explosive belts were fake.

  • Both the Las Ramblas and Cambrils attacks are believed to be linked.

  • It is described as the deadliest attacks in Spain since March 2004, when bombs were placed on commuter trains in Madrid, killing hundreds.

Where did it happen?

  • The attack took place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe’s top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year.

  •  The second attack took place in the popular seaside resort town of Cambrils, 110km south-west of Barcelona.

Who was behind it?

  • Police are looking for a teenager named Moussa Oukabir Soprano as the suspected driver of the white van. 

How many casualties?

  • Regional Interior Minister Joaquim Forn said at least 13 people had died in the first attack and about 100 more were injured.

  • There were at least 18 nationalities among the Barcelona victims who came from countries as varied as France, Venezuela, Australia, Ireland, Peru, Algeria and China, according to Spain’s civil protection agency.    

  • In the second attack, one person died in a hospital on Friday from wounds sustained and five civilians were injured, one critically. A police officer was hurt too. 

House bombing 

  • On Wednesday night, an explosion destroyed a house in the town of Alcanar, 200km south of Barcelona, killing one person and wounding seven.

  • Police are working on the theory that the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks are connected along with the town Alcanar blast. 

What is the latest?

  •  Thousands of people held a minute’s silence in Barcelona’s main square. The event was attended by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, and King Felipe VI.

What happens next?

Source: Al Jazeera News