Spanish police searching for van driver
in Barcelona attack
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[August 19, 2017]
By Andrés González and Angus Berwick
BARCELONA/RIPOLL, Spain (Reuters) - Spanish
police were on Saturday searching for the driver of a van that plowed
into a crowd in Barcelona, killing 13 people, in one of two deadly
attacks in Catalonia carried out by a network of suspected Islamist
The van driver has yet to be identified, police in the northeastern
Spanish region said late on Friday, but said it seemed increasingly
unlikely that he was one of five suspects shot dead in a Catalan seaside
The driver abandoned the van and fled on Thursday after speeding along a
section of Las Ramblas, the most famous boulevard in Barcelona, leaving
a trail of dead and injured among the crowds of tourists and local
Another woman died after a car rammed passersby in the resort town of
Cambrils in the early hours of Friday, before police shot dead five
attackers who were wearing fake explosive belts and had an ax and knives
in the vehicle.
Police have arrested four people in connection with the attacks - three
Moroccans and a citizen of Spain's North African enclave of Melilla.
Another three people have been identified but are still at large.
Spanish media said two of them may have been killed in Alcanar, where a
house was razed by an explosion shortly before midnight on Wednesday,
while one suspect, named by El Pais newspaper as Younes Abouyaaqoub, was
still sought by police.
Spanish police declined to confirm his identity. They believe the house
in Alcanar was being used to plan one or several large-scale attacks in
Barcelona, possibly using a large number of butane gas canisters stored
More than 100 people were injured in the Las Ramblas attack, many of
them foreign tourists visiting Barcelona during the peak of the summer
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Armed Catalan Mossos d'Esquadra officers patrol along La Barceloneta
beach in Barcelona, Spain, August 19, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez
In the past 13 months, militants have used vehicles as weapons to
kill nearly 130 people in France, Germany, Britain, Sweden and
The Spanish government will decide on Saturday whether to raise its
security alert one notch to the maximum level, which could involve
armed forces being deployed to help patrol cities and vulnerable
The Mediterranean region of Catalonian is thronged in the summer
months with tourists drawn to its beaches and the port city of
Barcelona's museums and tree-lined boulevards.
Of the 14 dead in the two attacks, five are Spanish, two are
Italians and there is one Portuguese, one Belgian, one Canadian and
one U.S. citizen, emergency services and authorities from those
countries have confirmed so far.
Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia were due to visit the injured
- who are of many different nationalities ranging from France and
Germany to Pakistan and the Philippines and are in various Barcelona
hospitals - on Saturday.
(Additional reporting by Sarah White and Julien Toyer; Editing by
Julien Toyer and Janet Lawrence)
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