The city of Barcelona, which suffered a terrorist attack in 2017, is on alert today after a warning from US authorities about a risk of terrorist attack over the holiday season.
“Spain: be extra cautious in areas where there are vehicle movements, including buses, in the Ramblas area of Barcelona at Christmas and New Year’s,” wrote the business office US State Department consular office on its Twitter account. “Terrorists could commit an attack … and target tourist areas, transport or other public areas,” he added.
The police presence in city intensified in the afternoon near the Ramblas, with several police vehicles stationed at the beginning of the famous promenade, which was the scene of a terrorist attack in 2017. About thirty agents were divided between this area and the adjacent Plaza Catalunya.
According to the local press, the police are looking for a Moroccan who holds a driving license. According to the daily El Periodico de Catalunya, this man planned to rush into the crowd with a bus in Spain’s second most populous city. The media noted, however, that the authorities did not know if this person was on Spanish territory.
The Mossos de Esquadra regional police have not confirm this information, but acknowledged “a … reinforcement of security measures in areas of high affluence”. A spokesman for the Spanish Ministry of the Interior stressed that the country remained at level of 4 out of 5 on its terrorist alert, but that security measures had been strengthened on December 11 because of Christmas and New Year.
Barcelona’s Las Ramblas was the target of a terrorist attack on August 17, 2017 by a 22-year-old Moroccan man who killed 14 people by ramming them with a car. A few hours later, five of his accomplices mowed down pedestrians in the seaside resort of Cambrils before stabbing a woman to death. The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack.