Posts Tagged ‘bomb making’

Dutch terror suspects ‘had 100 kg of fertiliser for car bomb’

September 28, 2018

Dutch investigators said Friday they found a large quantity of bomb-making materials including fertiliser likely to be used in a car bomb following the arrest of seven terror suspects.

The seven were seized Thursday in the cities of Arnhem and Weert by elite Dutch anti-terror units and are suspected of wanting to carry out a “major” attack in the country.

They briefly appeared for the first time in the Rotterdam District court on Friday on terror-related charges, where their case was remanded until next week.

© ANP/AFP | Dutch police officers search the Arnhem home of one of the people suspected of wanting to carry out a “major” terror attack in the Netherlands

The men, who range from 21 to 34 years, were not named and will remain under maximum security conditions — which means they are only allowed to talk to their lawyers.

During Thursday’s search “police confiscated a substantial amount of raw materials to make bombs at the suspects’ homes,” the Dutch public prosecution service said Friday.

Officers also found “100 kilogrammes (220 pounds) of fertiliser, possibly for use in a car bomb,” the prosecutors added in a statement.

Officers had previously placed a group of people under surveillance, including a 34-year-old Dutch man of Iraqi origin who was convicted in 2017 of attempting to reach territory controlled by the jihadist Islamic State group.

The suspects came from Arnhem, the port city of Rotterdam and villages close to those two cities. Two others in the group also had convictions related to attempts to travel to Iraq or Syria.

The men are suspected of wanting to attack civilians at a major event in the Netherlands, the Dutch secret service (AIVD) said, but a possible target was not named.

The Netherlands has been largely spared the kind of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years, but there has been a series of recent scares.

Thursday’s arrests came three months after two men were arrested in Rotterdam on suspicion of preparing attacks in France and the Netherlands.

The arrests also come a month after a 19-year-old Afghan with a German residence permit stabbed and injured two American tourists at Amsterdam’s busy Central Station before being shot and wounded.

The likelihood of a terror attack in the Netherlands “remained substantial”, the Dutch anti-terror agency NCTV said last week, with terror threat levels remaining at level four out of five.




Bahrain sentences 10 Shiites for life for making bombs

December 27, 2017


© AFP/File | A general view of Manama, the capital of Shiite-majority but Sunni-ruled Bahrain

DUBAI (AFP) – A Bahrain court on Wednesday sentenced 10 Shiites to life in jail for forming “terror” groups and manufacturing explosives and bombs, a judicial source said.The court, whose ruling can be appealed, also sentenced another defendant to 10 years. All were stripped of their Bahraini citizenship, the source told AFP.

Bahrain, a tiny but strategic Gulf state, has been gripped by unrest for years as its Sunni royal family has resisted demands from its Shiite majority for a constitutional monarchy with an elected prime minister.

The main suspect, Murtadha al-Sendi, who was sentenced to death on Monday, formed two “terror” groups, one of which manufactured explosives and bombs and stored them in hideouts, the judicial source said.

The second group received arms and explosives smuggled from Iran by sea and hid them, the source added.

Seven of the defendants were arrested when security forces broke up the two cells and recovered large quantities of arms and explosives.

Another four suspects are still at large.

The court heard that at least four of the accused were trained in the use of arms and manufacturing explosives in Iran and Iraq.

On Monday, Bahrain’s top military court sentenced six Shiites to death and seven to seven years in prison for allegedly plotting to assassinate the country’s armed forces chief.

It also revoked their citizenship.

Police foil ‘attack’ on school in Australia — Police in Melbourne arrested a 20-year-old man who they claimed was planning a New Year’s Eve attack

November 29, 2017


© AFP/File | The alleged plot was foiled a day after police in Melbourne arrested a 20-year-old man who they claimed was planning a New Year’s Eve attack


Two teenagers have been charged with planning an attack using guns and explosives on a Australian school and police said Wednesday they intended to kill multiple people.

The plot targeting the school in South Australia’s fruit-producing Riverland region, northeast of Adelaide, came to the attention of authorities earlier this month and the two young men were arrested soon afterwards.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said they were accused of planning “an attack at a school involving the use of firearms and explosives which could have led to multiple deaths”.

“There is no doubt in my mind that we prevented a catastrophe,” he said.

“We believe most likely the attack would have occurred, if not stopped, before the end of the current school term (in mid-December).”

The two boys – aged 16 and 18 – are in custody, with the younger one charged with a count of solicit to murder, while the older one faces threatening to kill offences.

The Adelaide Advertiser cited police as saying “prohibited weapons, homemade body armor  and materials that could be used to make bombs” were found.

The alleged plot was foiled a day after police in Melbourne arrested a 20-year-old man. They said he was planning to buy a gun and kill as many revellers as possible on New Year’s Eve in the city.

Police said that man, Ali Ali, was an Islamic State sympathiser, but there was no mention of any extremist group link to the teenagers in South Australia.

Bray said it would be alleged the pair were involved in planning the attack between June 1 and November 7 this year.

3 charged over makeshift gas canister bomb in Paris

October 7, 2017


© AFP/File | Paris police were tipped off by a resident who found two gas canisters in the hallway of his apartment building in the 16th arrondissement before dawn on September 30

PARIS (AFP) – French prosecutors have charged three men in connection with a makeshift explosive device made of gas canisters placed inside an apartment block in western Paris, a judicial source told AFP on Saturday.The three, identified as Amine A, his cousin Sami B, and Aymen B., were charged late Friday with “attempted murder in an organised group in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and placed in pre-trial detention, the source said.

All three were arrested on Monday evening, two days after the device was found in a block in the 16th arrondissement, one of the city’s most exclusive neighbourhoods.

In total, police found four gas cylinders — two of them in the hallway attached to a mobile phone which investigators believe was meant to be used as a detonator. The other two were on the pavement outside.

Amine A., 30, and Aymen B., 29, are both on the terror watchlist.

Three of their associates who were taken for questioning earlier this week have all been released.

“The consequences in terms of human life and material damage could have been dramatic,” Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday, adding that it was unclear why they chose to target that particular building in Porte d’Auteuil.

It also remains unclear why the men did not activate the device. Police tracked them down by means of DNA found at the scene.

Over the past few years, France has suffered a string of deadly attacks which began in January 2015 and has claimed the lives of 241 people.

Last month, the interior minister said 12 attacks had been foiled since the start of the year.

In September 2016, three women were arrested after a foiled plot to blow up a car containing five gas canisters near the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Spain Conditionally Releases Attacks Suspect

August 24, 2017


AUG. 24, 2017, 8:36 A.M. E.D.T.

MADRID — The Latest on Spain attacks investigation (all times local):

2:30 p.m.

Spain’s National Court says that one of the four suspects in deadly attacks last week in and around Barcelona has been conditionally freed because of a lack of evidence against him.

Judge Fernando Andreu ruled that Salh El Karib’s passport should be confiscated and that he will be required to show up in court once a week while he remains under investigation.

El Karib, who worked in a cybercafe in Ripoll, the Catalan town where the extremist cell was allegedly formed, had been in police custody since investigators found that he purportedly purchased plane tickets for some of its members.

On Tuesday, the judge freed with similar restrictions another suspect and sent to jail two others. Eight more people connected to the attacks are dead, six of them shot by the police.


11:35 a.m.

Catalan police have identified the body of the second suspect killed in a blast at the house where the cell that carried out the attacks in and near Barcelona was preparing bombs.

Police said Thursday the body was that of Youssef Aalla. The blast also killed an imam considered to be the cell leader, Abdelbaki Es Satty.

One survivor, Mohamed Houli Chemlal, was injured and is now jailed.

Police say one of Aalla’s brothers was among five attackers shot dead by officers in the group’s second attack in Cambrils. Another brother is a suspect.

The attacks Aug. 17-18 left 15 dead and more than 120 injured.

They were preceded by the Aug. 16 blast at a house in Alcanar, which disrupted the cell’s plan to set off bombs at high-profile targets.

Belgium Gave ‘Informal’ Tip to Catalan Police About Imam — Spanish police under growing criticism over the van attack that killed 13 people

August 24, 2017

MADRID — A Belgian policeman told a Catalan colleague in 2016 that the imam believed to be the instigator of last week’s attack in Barcelona was suspicious, but no information was found back then to link him to Islamist militancy, a source told Reuters.

Police in the northeast Spanish region of Catalonia are coming under growing criticism over the van attack that killed 13 people. Two others were killed during the driver’s getaway and in a separate attack further down the coast.

Several Spanish media accused Catalan police on Thursday of failing to properly investigate the Moroccan imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty. Meanwhile a wider blame game is being played out between central authorities in Madrid and officials in Catalonia, whose leaders are pushing for independence from Spain.

The tip-off about the imam was made informally between two police officials from Belgium and Catalonia who knew each other, a source in Catalonia’s regional government said.

“The communication between the two policemen was not official. They knew each other because they had met in a police seminar,” the source said, on condition of anonymity.

Police records, however, had turned up nothing on the cleric. “The documents show that we had no information about the imam,” the source said, adding that the only official communication channels of the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, with police in other countries were through Spain’s central government.

The Catalan regional government and Spain’s central government declined to comment.

It remains unclear whether Catalan police made their own attempts to follow up on the lead.

Es Satty spent around three months in the Belgian town of Vilvoorde, a known center of Islamist radicalism, between January and March last year.

He later went to Catalonia as the imam of the small town of Ripoll, where he is suspected of having recruited and radicalized most of the group which carried last week’s attacks.

Hans Bonte, mayor of Vilvoorde, said last week that Es Satty had been “intensely screened” by Belgian police at the time, and he had told Spanish police by email of his whereabouts.

El Pais newspaper quoted Bonte on Thursday as saying he had received a reply from police in Barcelona on March 8 last year. “They said the imam had no links to radical groups,” he said.

Sources close to the investigation told Reuters earlier this week the regional Catalan force may have missed an opportunity to uncover the plot because of procedural errors and a lack of communication among investigators.

The errors and miscommunication centered around a major blast on Aug. 16, the eve of the attack, at a house where it was later discovered that suspected Islamist militants were making explosives, the sources said.

(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

On the explosive trail of Spain’s attackers

August 21, 2017


© AFP / by Daniel SILVA | A policewoman walks with dozen of gas bottles in the background in Alcanar, during a search linked to the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks


A strong explosion at a house in Alcanar in southern Catalonia which was initially treated as a random gas blast was in fact the trigger to the twin vehicle attacks which shook Spain, and unified it in defiance.

The accident deprived a jihadist cell of bomb material they planned to use in a larger attack and prompted them to instead use vehicles to plough into pedestrians, killing 14 people.

Here is a timeline of events leading up to the attacks, including police on Monday saying they had shot dead a man would could be the alleged fugitive driver of the Barcelona van, Younes Abouyaaqoub:

– April 2017 –

The jihadist cell is already in Alcanar, according to their neighbour Martine Groby, a 61-year-old French retiree.

“They were very discreet, too discreet. The shutters were closed, there was no music, no children, no women,” she told AFP.

She said her father, a former policeman, told her the young men living next door were “terrorists” and told her to take down their number plates.

He found it strange that they kept coming and going all day.

“I should have listened to him,” said Groby, her eyes welling with tears.

– Wednesday August 16 –


An explosion at a house some 200 kilometres (120 miles) southwest of Barcelona kills one person and seriously injures another. Six other people are slightly injured.

The blast is so strong it is heard four kilometres away. The explosion may have been caused by a canister of butane and propane gas, local TV reported.

It was not known at the time that the house stored the ingredients needed to make the Islamic State group’s preferred explosive, triacetone triperoxide, or TATP.

The explosive has been used in attacks in London, Paris, Brussels and Manchester.

– Thursday August 17 –


One of the attackers, Said Aallaa, tells his family that he is going out with a friend. He leaves his home in Ripoll in northern Catalonia and travels some 200 kilometres to the seaside resort of Cambrils.

Aallaa was in a car that hours later rammed into pedestrians in Cambrils, leaving one woman dead after one of the assailants jumped out of the vehicle and stabbed her with a knife.


A second, smaller explosion rocks the house in Alcanar. At the time police, who at this point still had not linked the house to terrorism, were removing rubble with an excavator.

Six police officers, two firefighters and the driver of the excavator are injured.


A white van speeds into people along a 500 metre (1,600 feet) stretch of the pedestrian concourse at the centre of Barcelona’s most famous street, Las Ramblas, killing 13 people and injuring over 100 others.

The suspect driver and only passenger of the van, Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, escapes on foot, disappearing into the city’s most famous food market, La Boqueria.


Abouyaaqoub arrives at Barcelona’s univerity zone about six kilometres (3.5 miles) away where he approaches a car and stabs to death its occupant, 34-year-old Pau Perez.

He throws Perez’s body in the back seat of the Ford Focus and drives away.

Shortly after Abouyaaqoub comes up against a police checkpoint. He forces the stolen car through, injuring a police officer. Police fire shots at the car.


Officers find the stolen car with a body of a man inside in Sant Just Desvern, a town just outside of Barcelona.

Police believe at first that the man died from their gunshots but they later realise he was stabbed. On Monday they announced that the body was that of Perez.


The chief of Catalonia’s regional police, Josep Lluis Trapero, says for the first time that the vehicle attack in Barcelona is linked to the explosion at the house in Alcanar.

– Friday August 18 –


Moussa Oukabir, 17, Mohamed Hychami, 24, and Said Aallaa, 18, along with two other unnamed accomplices drive an Audi A3 into pedestrians on the promenade at Cambrils.

They try to force their way through a police checkpoint and injure one officer. They then get out of the car wearing fake explosives belts and armed with knives and axes.

A police officer shoots four of them dead. A fifth attacker tries to flee and another police officer shoots him dead.

Before he was shot he had time to stab a woman who later died, becoming the 15th victim of the attacks.

– Monday, August 21 –


Police said they had shot dead a man wearing what appeared to be a suicide belt, and could be Younes Abouyaaqoub, the alleged fugitive driver of the van that mowed down crowds in Barcelona, a source close to the probe said.

Police confirmed the shooting, but did not identify him.

by Daniel SILVA

Spanish Police Hunt for Suspected Barcelona Van Driver

August 20, 2017

BARCELONA, Spain — Spanish police put up scores of roadblocks across the northeast as the manhunt continued Sunday for the suspected driver of the van that plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona.

Police in Catalonia are searching for Younes Abouyaaquoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan suspected of carrying out the attack Thursday in Barcelona that left 13 dead and over 120 people wounded.

A headshot of the alleged driver behind the deadly Barcelona terrorist attack.

Younes Abouyaaquoub

The investigation is also focusing on a missing imam who police think could have died in a massive house explosion Wednesday. Police believe imam Abdelbaki Es Satty radicalized the young men in the extremist cell, which may have  accidentally blown up a house in the quiet seaside town of Alcanar with the explosive material it was collecting. Es Satty in June abruptly quit working at a mosque in Ripoll and has not been seen since.

His former mosque denounced the deadly attacks and weeping relatives marched into a Ripoll square on Saturday, tearfully denying any knowledge of the radical plans of their sons and brothers. Abouyaaquoub’s mother says his younger brother Hussein has also disappeared, as has the younger brother of one of five radicals slain Friday by police during an attack on the resort of Cambrils that left one pedestrian dead.

Authorities said the two attacks were the work of a large terrorist cell that had been plotting for a long time from a house they took over in Alcanar. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for both attacks.

 Image may contain: one or more people
A man touches a newspaper displaying a photograph of the aftermath of the terror attack in Las Ramblas, in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017.

On Sunday, Spain’s king and queen and its prime minister attended a solemn Mass at Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Basilica for the victims of the terror attacks.

King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia were accompanied by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Catalan regional President Carles Puigdemont and other officials at the Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Barcelona, Cardinal Joan Josep Omella.

Everyone so far known in the cell grew up in Ripoll, a town in the Catalan foothills 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Barcelona. Spanish police searched nine homes in Ripoll, including Es Satty’s, and set up roadblocks. French police carried out extra border checks on people coming in from Spain.

Neighbors, family and the mayor of Ripoll said they were shocked by news of the alleged involvement of the young men, whom all described as integrated Spanish and Catalan speakers.

Halima Hychami, the weeping mother of Mohamed Hychami, one of the attackers named by police, said he told her he was leaving on vacation and would return Aug. 25. His younger brother, Omar, slept in late Thursday, left mid-afternoon and has not been heard from since. Mohamed Hychami is believed among the five extremists killed in Cambrils.

“We found out by watching TV, same as all of you. They never talked about the imam. They were normal boys. They took care of me, booked my flight when I went on vacation. They all had jobs. They didn’t steal. Never had a problem with me or anybody else. I can’t understand it,” she said.

Even with Abouyaaquoub and others at large, Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido declared the cell “broken” Saturday. In addition to the five killed by police, four were in custody and others were killed in a house explosion Wednesday. He said there was no new imminent threat of attack.

Police conducted controlled explosions Saturday in Alcanar, south of Barcelona.

Initially, only one person was believed killed in the Wednesday blast that destroyed a house in Alcanar. But officials said DNA tests were underway to determine if human remains found there Friday were from a second victim. A police official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing searches, said investigators believed they may belong to Es Satty.

The official said investigators also discovered ingredients of the explosive TATP, used by the Islamic State group in attacks in Paris and Brussels, as well as multiple butane tanks.

Neighbors on Saturday said they had seen three vehicles coming and going from the home, including an Audi used in the Cambrils attack and the van used in the Barcelona attack.

The president of the mosque where Es Satty preached, Ali Yassine, said he hadn’t seen him since June, when he announced he was returning to Morocco for three months.

“He left the same way he came,” said a bitter Wafa Marsi, a friend to many of the attackers, who appeared Saturday alongside their families to denounce terrorism.

Fatima Abouyaaquoub, sister-in-law of the Hychami brothers and the cousin of Younes Abouyaaquoub, found it all hard to believe.

“I’m still waiting for all of it to be a lie. I don’t know if they were brainwashed or they gave them some type of medication or what. I can’t explain it,” she said.

Islamic extremists have made a point of targeting Europe’s major tourist attractions — especially in rented or hijacked vehicles. But in the last two years, the extremist group has steadily lost ground in its self-declared caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

By late Saturday, the Catalan emergency service said 53 attack victims still remained hospitalized, 13 of them in critical condition.

The 14 people killed spanned generations — from age 3 to age 80 — and left behind devastated loved ones. They included a grandmother, 74, and her granddaughter, 20, from Portugal who were visiting Barcelona to celebrate a birthday; an Italian father who saved his children’s lives but lost his own; an American man who was celebrating his first wedding anniversary.

Francisco Lopez Rodriguez, a 57-year-old Spaniard, was killed with his 3-year-old grand-nephew, Javier Martinez, while walking along the Las Ramblas promenade. His widow Roser is recovering in a hospital.

“We are a broken family,” niece Raquel Baron Lopez posted on Twitter.


Hinnant and Oller reported from Ripoll. Angela Charlton in Paris; Nicole Winfield in Rome; Mystyslav Chernov in Ripoll; Oleg Cetinic in Alcanar; and Ciaran Giles in Madrid contributed.

Catalonia Attacks Had Been Planned ‘for Some Time’

August 18, 2017

MADRID — Two deadly attacks in Catalonia on Thursday and in the early hours of Friday had been planned for some time by people operating out of the town of Alcanar, police said on Friday.

Alcanar was the site of an explosion in a house shortly before midnight on Wednesday, in an incident which police are now linking to the attacks.

Three of the people arrested so far over the attacks are Moroccans and a fourth person in custody is a Spaniard, the regional police chief told a news conference. None had a history of terror-related activities. They were aged between 21 and 34.

Police said they had still not identified the driver of a van who mowed down pedestrians in central Barcelona and then fled the scene on foot.

It was possible that this man was among five suspects shot dead in the resort town of Cambrils early on Friday, but nothing was yet certain, the police chief said.

(Reporting by Julien Toyer; Editing by Sarah White)

Police Hunt Barcelona Driver as Second Attack Hits Catalonia (With Photo Album)

August 18, 2017

Attack in Cambrils that left one person dead is connected to Las Ramblas crash

Updated Aug. 18, 2017 9:03 a.m. ET

BARCELONA—Spanish authorities on Friday raced to round up suspects in a deadly spree that started with a terrorist running down pedestrians in the heart of Barcelona with a van and ended in an early morning shootout in which police killed five attackers wearing fake suicide vests.

Hours after the mayhem in Spain’s second-largest city killed 13 and injured dozens more, police said they shot and killed five men in the seaside town of Cambrils, about 75 miles away, after they plowed a vehicle into a group of civilians and a police patrol.

One person died of injuries in the Cambrils attack, emergency services officials said.

The attacks, which hit one of Spain’s top destinations during a particularly busy month for tourism, mark the deadliest in the country in over a decade and are the latest in a string in Europe in which vehicles have served as weapons in popular tourist areas.

Four people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, and Catalonian Interior Minister Joaquim Forn said the “top priority” of the police is to find the driver, who barreled down the pedestrian section of Las Ramblas, a thoroughfare popular with visitors and locals, leaving a trail of bodies.

Tragedy on Las Ramblas

A van mowed down pedestrians as it drove for blocks on Barcelona’s iconic tree-lined street. Arrests and other suspected connected events, including the discovery of another vehicle and a house explosion, took place outside the city. Early Friday morning in Cambrils seven people were injured and five terror suspects were killed in a second incident.

“We don’t know if the driver is still in Barcelona or not, or what direction he fled in,” Mr. Forn told local radio. “We had local police on the scene, but we were unable to shoot him, as the Ramblas were packed with people.”

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack via its official Amaq news agency, according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadist activity online.

The attack’s location at a tourist playground was reflected in the international background of the victims. Catalonia regional President Carles Puigdemont said people from 20 countries were among those killed and injured in Barcelona.

Police reopened the city’s central Placa de Catalunya near the site of the attack mid-morning on Friday and vendors said people weren’t staying away. The city held a moment of silence at the Placa at noon, where a crowd gathered for a moment of silence that was attended by Spain’s King Felipe VI and President Mariano Rajoy.

Afterward, the crowd marched down La Rambla towards the scene of the attack, shouting “No tinc por,” or “I’m not afraid,” in Catalan.

“We have seen an admirable response from our society, which has sent a clear message to the terrorists: we have woken up dismayed, but we have risen with the determination to win the battle of terrorism,” Mr. Puigdemont said at a news conference with Mr. Rajoy. “We will do it with our best weapon: solidarity, coexistence, freedom and respect.”

One of the men detained was from the Spanish enclave of Melilla on the Moroccan coast and another from Morocco itself, according to regional police chief Josep Lluís Trapero.

Police believe the Barcelona attack was also connected to a blast in Alcanar, another coastal town southwest of Barcelona, in which one man died. They theorize the men were assembling explosives and accidentally detonated them.

Police found 30 gas canisters at the scene, which a local official said could have been loaded, along with two explosive devices, into two vehicles for an attack.

Five Terror Suspects Killed as Second Attack Hits Spain
Just hours after Islamic State claimed responsibility for a terror strike in Barcelona on Thursday, police shot and killed five men in the seaside town of Cambrils, after they plowed a vehicle into a group of civilians and a police patrol. Image: EPA

One of the men was detained in Alcanar. Another two were detained in Ripoll, about a 1½-hour drive north of Barcelona.

Ripoll Mayor Jordi Munell identified one of them as Driss Oukabir, whose name police said showed up in a van rental agreement. The mayor said Mr. Oukabir was on his way to the police station to say his identification papers had been stolen when he was apprehended.

He said police were searching for his brother, Moussa, but that they don’t know if he was the driver of the white van in the Barcelona attack. Authorities were conducting searches of homes around Ripoll “with links to the family or friends.”

Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare

More than a dozen people were killed in the northern Spanish city in what police said was a terrorist attack

Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
People react after a terrorist crashed a van into a crowd of pedestrians in the popular Las Ramblas area of Barcelona on Thursday. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed more than a dozen people and injured scores more. Two suspects were being detained, authorities said.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
People leave the cordoned-off area in Barcelona.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
An injured man lies on the sidewalk. The speeding van left a trail of bodies, some in pools of blood, on Las Ramblas, a partly pedestrian thoroughfare popular with both tourists and residents.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
An injured person is carried away by emergency personnel. It was the first fatal terrorist attack in Spain in more than eight years.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
Policemen patrol a street in Cambrils, Spain, after suspected terrorists knocked down people with their car on Thursday, hours after the Barcelona attack. Police killed the five suspects in a shootout in Cambrils.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
A woman speaks on the phone amid a group of people standing on a street in Barcelona.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
Policemen check the identities of people in Las Ramblas. Local police cordoned off the area in central Barcelona, where hundreds of people were evacuated by nervous police officers.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
A van that was likely used in the attack is towed away.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
People flee Las Ramblas after the attack.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
Armed police officers fan out in search of suspects in Barcelona.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
An armed policeman arrives in a cordoned-off area where a van plowed into a crowd of people in Barcelona.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
Forensic police officers search for clues near the area where the van crashed into pedestrians.
Photos: Many Dead After Van Attack on Barcelona Thoroughfare
People comfort each other after a terror attack in Las Ramblas.

The attack is the latest in a series to hit Europe. In the U.K., vehicles were used in a trio of deadly attacks this year at Westminster Bridge, London Bridge, and a London mosque.

U.K.: Military boots are laid in tribute outside the Royal Artillery Barracks at Woolwich in London.Two British-born Muslim converts drove into off-duty British soldier Lee Rigby in London, then stabbed and hacked him to death.PHOTO: BOGDAN MARAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Belgium: Police direct the investigation and cleanup at a crime scene in central Brussels.A gunman killed four people at the Jewish Museum of Belgium in Brussels. A French national with ties to Islamic State is arrested and charged with the killings.PHOTO: ERIC VIDAL/REUTERS

France: People hold up “Je suis Charlie” signs during a vigil in Paris.Masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people. In related attacks, a gunman kills a policewoman and four people taken hostage in a Jewish supermarket in Paris.PHOTO: LEWIS JOLY/VISUAL/ZUMA PRESS

France: A person is evacuated after a shooting outside the Bataclan theater in Paris.A string of coordinated attacks at a soccer stadium, bars, restaurants and a concert venue across Paris left 130 people dead and hundreds injured.PHOTO: THIBAULT CAMUS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Belgium: The facade of the Brussels Airport is seen after one of two bombs exploded inside the terminal.Suicide bombers struck a Brussels metro station and an airport, killing 32.PHOTO: YORICK JANSENS/BELGA/ZUMA PRESS

France: An investigator measures the bullet-riddled windshield of a truck that was driven down the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.Extremist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck through crowds watching Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, killing 84 and injuring hundreds.PHOTO: IAN LANGSDON/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Germany: A policeman is seen at a Christmas market a day after an attack in Berlin.Rejected Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri rammed a stolen truck into one of Berlin’s busiest Christmas markets, killing 12 people. He escapes and travels as far as Milan, where he is fatally shot by Italian police days later.PHOTO: ODD ANDERSEN/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

U.K.: A woman assists an injured person on the Westminster Bridge in London.Khalid Masood plowed into pedestrians on London’s Westminster Bridge before crashing his car near the gates of Parliament and stabbing a policeman. Four people are killed and at least 50 injured; the attacker is shot dead by police.PHOTO: TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS

Sweden: Police cordon off a truck that crashed into a department store in Stockholm.A man drove a truck into a crowd in Stockholm, killing four. The suspect, an Uzbek who had voiced sympathy for radical Muslim groups, was wanted for failing to comply with a deportation order.PHOTO: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

U.K.: A young woman is assisted outside the Manchester Arena after an explosion.Twenty-two people are killed and more than 100 injured by a suspected suicide bomber at a concert hall in Manchester, England.PHOTO: JOEL GOODMAN/LONDON NEWS PICTURES/ZUMA PRESS

Spain: Witnesses react after a van crashed through the popular tourist thoroughfare Las Ramblas.Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Barcelona where a van plowed into pedestrians, killing at least 13 and injuring many more.PHOTO: DAVID ARMENGOU/EFE/ZUMA PRESS

In 2016, an attacker in Nice, France, used a rental truck to plow into crowds celebrating the French national day along that city’s seaside promenade, killing 86.

Injured people are treated in the Las Ramblas district of Barcelona on Aug. 17.
Injured people are treated in the Las Ramblas district of Barcelona on Aug. 17. PHOTO:ASSOCIATED PRESS

Spain suffered what is still the deadliest attack in Europe’s postwar history when a jihadist cell loosely controlled by al Qaeda killed 191 people in the coordinated bombings of four Madrid commuter trains on March 11, 2004.

On Thursday U.S. President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the U.S. stood ready to help Spanish authorities. “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help,” Mr. Trump posted. “Be tough & strong, we love you!”

Write to Jeannette Neumann at and Jon Sindreu at