ISIS carried out another brutal vehicle terror attack in Europe, this time in Barcelona, Spain. The attack occurred in the busy tourist area of Las Ramblas which is crowded with shops and pedestrians. As of this writing, there are 13 confirmed dead and over 100 injured. Later in the day, another attack was thwarted in Cambrils, Spain, a costal area south of Barcelona. Five terrorists were shot in that counter terror operation and police report that those terrorist were planning on driving a van into a crowd of pedestrians in that costal town. They were also reported to be wearing explosive belts.
As ISIS continues to lose ground and suffer defeat on the battlefield, it will intensify its terror operations on the streets of Europe, and very possibly, the streets of the United States. This recent attack fits the strategy that ISIS has stated on many occasions that they will use “everyday objects” to carry out their attacks. Today’s terrorism in Barcelona represents the 9th vehicle borne terror attack in Europe in just over a year. The other 8 attacks include: August 9-Levallois-Perret, Paris; June 9-Champs-Élysées, Paris; June 19- Finsbury Park, London; June 3-London Bridge, London; April 9- Drottninggatan, Stockholm; March 22-Westminster, London; December 19, 2016-Breitscheidplatz, Berlin; July 14. 2016-Promenade des Anglais, Nice.
Vehicles have proven to be an extremely valuable weapon for ISIS, and with success comes bolder and more frequent attacks. In one of Counter Threat Group’s previous articles on International Travel Safety, we stressed the importance of being ebxtremely vigilant in popular international cities, particularly in crowded pedestrian tourist areas. All of the previous vehicle terror incidents have occurred in these popular crowded areas.
Spain has become a country of concern for terrorism as they have experienced a high number of migrants in recent months. Also, Jihadist groups like ISIS and Al Qaida have been using Spain as a staging areas for terrorists who plan to carry out attacks in other parts of Europe.