BARCELONA: As The Dust Settles, The Story Emerges
Image of alleged van driver Moussa Oukabir. (Photo: Moussa Oukabir. Source: Twitter)
Following the motor vehicle attack in Barcelona which tragically left 13 people dead and over 100 injured, several other incidents have occurred that temporarily caused confusion and conflicting reports about the events and the suspects involved. As the narrative emerges, however, the attack in Barcelona – for which ISIS has apparently claimed responsibility – is being treated as a major terrorist event, and as the dust settles some nations are signalling further measures to respond to terrorism, increase security and/or restrict freedoms.
Thursday’s attack in Barcelona involved a white van deliberately driving into crowds of pedestrians on La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous and most crowded street. Spanish authorities are now drawing attention to events in the town of Cambrils, where early Friday morning a number of terror suspects were apparently shot dead by police.
It is being reported that the five suspects in Cambrils, who were supposedly wearing fake suicide belts, deliberately drove their vehicle into pedestrians before being gunned down by police, four of them by a single officer. It is now being claimed that 18-year-old Moussa Oukabir, who is suspected of being the driver of the van that tore through crowds in Barcelona, is among these five dead suspects. One other attacker was killed in a shootout with police at the scene on La Rambla.
Moussa Oukabir is the younger brother of Driss Oukabir whose passport was found at the scene and who was originally thought to have rented the van. Interestingly, Driss Oukabir turned himself in to a local police station claiming that he was not involved in the attack and that his documents were stolen, allowing the van to be rented in his name. Incidentally, this is not the first time passports and other identification have been recovered from the scene of terrorist attacks; the other times this has happened are recounted in a newly updated post by Professor Michel Chossudovsky of Global Research.
It is also not the first time that vans or trucks have been used to attack pedestrians. Among the other cities in Europe that have experienced this tactic are Nice, Berlin and Stockholm, as well as three separate incidents in London: the Westminster attack, the London Bridge attack and the Finsbury Park mosque attack.
One other incident may also be linked to the Barcelona attack. An explosion that occurred on Wednesday night at a house in Alcanar is now being linked to the Barcelona attackers. The explosion resulted in one person being killed and six others sustaining injuries, as well as damage to surrounding buildings.
There were also ‘red herring’ events mixed in with the mainstream coverage of the Barcelona attack. In what is now being claimed is an unrelated incident, a white Ford Focus rammed into two police officers at a terror checkpoint before the suspect fled and was later killed by police. There were also reports – since ruled out as false rumours – of armed men holding hostages in a Barcelona restaurant on Thursday after the attack in Barcelona.
At the time of this writing, there are now 13 dead from the van attack in Barcelona and one dead from the events in Cambrils. More than 130 people were injured in Barcelona (with at least 17 in critical condition) and a further six were injured in Cambrils. Six suspects have been shot dead by police (five in Cambrils and one in Barcelona), and four are under arrest.
We will have to wait and see what the international response to these events will be. But in a forceful statement reminiscent of the Bush-era global war on terror, US Vice President Mike Pence responded to the events in Barcelona by saying that “the United States of America, together with our allies, will find and punish those responsible, and drive the evil of radical Islamic terror from the face of the earth”.
In addition, France is tightening border security in response to the attacks. Russian President Vladimir Putin has also called for the international community to unite in its response to terrorism.
More on this story from RT…
La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain (Photo: Stefano Mortellaro. Source: Wikicommons)
Fourteen people were killed in an attack in the heart of Barcelona on Thursday, when a van was used to mow down pedestrians on the major boulevard, Las Ramblas.
A second incident in the coastal town of Cambrils in the early hours of Friday saw security forces kill five suspects wearing fake suicide belts. The group are thought to have carried out a second attack using a vehicle, injuring six people.
As the investigations continue, here’s RT.com’s timeline of how the attacks unfolded: