The time has come and long gone when violent attacks on civilians with the intent to sow fear and terror have become a routine and accepted fact of life all over the world. Still fresh in the mind of many is the bombing of the Manchester Arena last May which struck at a crowd from an Ariana Grande concert. Then there was the still-ongoing siege of the southern Philippine city of Marawi, as government forces fight to remove ISIS-aligned militants. More recently a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia turned painful and deadly with a car plowing into a crowd of counter-protesters, wounding several and killing one. This method of wanton harm is a favorite tactic of terror on urban highways, and it has been executed anew.
USA Today reports that on Thursday, August 17, a van swerved from the street in order to run over pedestrians in the La Rambla thoroughfare of Barcelona in Spain. The vehicle turned mass murder weapon would end up killing 13 people and injuring about 100 others. Two suspects were inside the van who then escaped the carnage on foot. A few hours later, Barceloa police manning a checkpoint accosted a suspicious driver whom they shot dead when he tried to resist them. He is suspected to be the van driver, though this has been discounted as an account.
The response of the Spanish police to this threat was swift and decisive. As CNN tells it, the following day, August 18, elements of law enforcement in Cambrils clashed with multiple suspects in another vehicle, an Audi A3 which they allegedly plotted to steer into pedestrians like what had happened in Barcelona. Thanks to the efforts of the police, the four suspects were killed at the scene. Examination of the bodies reveals that several of the suspects were wearing what looked like explosive suicide belts. One police officer was wounded in the encounter while the car managed to hit and wound six civilians.
Not long afterwards, the embattled yet still dreaded ISIS terror group claimed tentative responsibility for the fatalities and wounded in the vehicular rampage at Barcelona, labeling the perpetrators as their “soldiers”. The boast seemed to be to the level considering that the pedestrian victims at La Rambla were an internationally diverse lot – 100 wounded and one dead from at least 24 nations – the sort that ISIS prefers to target. They hailed from Spain, France, Germany, Holland, Argentina, Venezuela, Belgium, Peru, Romania, Ireland, Cuba, Greece, Macedonia, UK, Austria, Pakistan, Taiwan, Canada, Ecuador, USA, Philippines, Kuwait, Turkey and China.
The incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils have been described as linked by the interior minister of Catalan province. King Felipe of Spain led a crowd in a moment of silence this Friday at the Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Photo courtesy of theaustralian.com.au