Terror Attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils

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Swarna Gowtham

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Survivor Memorial on Las Ramblas

Swarna Gowtham

Survivor Memorial on Las Ramblas

Barcelona, known for its beautiful  cathedrals, golden beaches, and stunning spanish architecture faced a terrorist attack this past summer on the 17th of August 2017. A summer afternoon turned nightmare after a white van zigzaged down the busy touristic street of Las Ramblas avenue. Reports say that the attack left 14 dead and more than 100 injured. The Barcelona attack was at least the sixth time that vehicles were used as deadly weapons in a European City (NYT). On top of that, Catalan police report that there was a second vehicular attack in the seaside town of Cambrils resulting in injuries to six civilians and one police officer. 

Witnesses at the episode in Las Ramblas say that a white van tried to hit as many people in its path as it possibly can (BBC). When the police classified this event as a terrorist attack, police suspected a man by the name of Younes Abouyaaquob, 22  to be the man behind the attack. Eight hours later at Cambrils, reports say that an Audi A3 car plowed through pedestrians, five assailants  got out of van with guns, some wearing fake suicide belts, four of which were shot at the scene by police and one who attempted escape but was shot dead later on. The attackers that were killed in Cambrils were said to be Said Aallaa, 18; Mohamed Hychami,24; Omar Hychammi (age unknown), and Houssain Abouyaaqoub (age unknown), (BBC). The suspected ringleader is suspected to be a man by the name of Abdelbhaki Es Satty, who was of Moroccan roots, spent fur years in Spanish Prison for drug trafficking. While in prison he befriended Rachid Agliff who was sent to prison for eighteen years due to his role in the Madrid train bombings in 2004. After his prison sentence he was reported to spend time in the Muslim community of Ripolli, Spain where he supposedly planned these series of attacks aling with the aliance of fellow Ripolli resident, Younes Abouyaaquob, who was the young man driving the van through Las Ramblas. The motives behind these attacks are currently unreported however anti-immigrant politicians are now  blaming the Moroccan background of the attackers.  In the words of the Hungarian Prime Minister, “It is evident to everyone that there is a correlation between illegal immigration and terrorism,” (WP). This opinion is obviously not fact but it is one opinion among politicians in Europe.

In light of these tragic events, we as people must also focus on the victims who come from 34 different nationalities including American Jared Tucker, 42 and a father of three from San Francisco killed on Las Ramblas (BBC) and hope that Europe has a safer future from terrorism.