Barcelona Under Siege After Various Terror Attacks
In the early morning hours of Friday, a tactical police unit known as Mossos de Esquadra intercepted five terrorists in a van that rushed through a security roadblock at high speed. According to regional newspaper La Vanguardia, based in Barcelona, the van flipped over and five attackers jumped out armed with knives. As soon as the terrorists started stabbing revelers in the Cambrils district, the Mossos opened fire and neutralized them all. Some of the attackers were wearing suicide vests; explosive disposal specialists later detonated the deadly devices as people ran for cover due to rumors of more bombs placed near a luxury marina and yacht club. In a public announcement, Interior Chancellor Joaquim Forn explained that special agents were raiding various residences in Alcanar, a municipality in the Tarragona region. This law enforcement action was carried out to flush out a suspected terrorist sleeper cell associated with the Islamic State. In fact, ISIS posted social media updates claiming responsibility for both attacks on Thursday and Friday.
Although the identities of the attackers have not been released to the public, neighbors in Alcanar commented that many of the suspects arrested in the raids were Middle Eastern and Northern African immigrants; this commentary resulted in incensed rhetoric on nationalist talk radio programs across Spain. The attacks took place just a couple of days following a request by Oxfam International calling on various European nations to take on more refugees from war-torn nations such as Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen.