TOPICS > World

After attack, Barcelona comes to terms with new reality

August 18, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
Fourteen are dead, including one American, after Thursday's attack on Barcelona and another in a Spanish coastal town, where a car drove into a crowd and five men jumped out with knives; all were shot dead by police. Special correspondent Jack Parrock reports from Barcelona.
LISTENSEE PODCASTS

HARI SREENIVASAN: And now to the terror in Spain.

As of tonight, there are 14 dead, including one American, in Thursday’s attacks on Barcelona and a coastal town. Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Jack Parrock is in Barcelona, and filed this report.

JACK PARROCK: A minute of silence, then a chant of defiance, “I am not afraid” in Catalan.

Spain’s king and prime minister joined thousands of mourners at Barcelona’s Plaza de Cataluna. The historic pedestrian boulevard Las Ramblas was strewn with flowers and signs in memory of the victims.

Yesterday, it was a scene of carnage, after a van plowed through the tourist-packed promenade, leaving 13 dead and more than 100 injured. Cell phone video captured crowds running, and the van, abandoned at the end of its rampage.

AAMER ANWAR, Eyewitness: I heard this crashing noise. I heard screams and I turned around and looked, and it just looked like avalanche of hundreds of people starting to run. So, instinctively, I started to run.

JACK PARROCK: Early this morning, a second attack, in the resort town of Cambrils, some 60 miles outside Barcelona. A car drove through a security checkpoint and into a crowd of pedestrians, killing one woman and injuring several others.

Five men with knives and what appeared to be suicide belts jumped from the car. All were shot dead by police in a gun battle captured by club-goers at a nearby bar. Spanish media reported one of the five was the driver of the van in the first attack. The explosive belts turned out to be fakes, a ploy used by terrorists in another van attack that killed eight people on London Bridge in June.

Four other suspects have now been arrested in the Barcelona attack, three Moroccans and a Spanish national. None were on the radar of authorities, but one was a man injured in an explosion a day earlier in the nearby town of Alcanar.

JOSEP LLUIS TRAPERO, Catalan Regional Police (through interpreter): We are working under the belief that this attack or attacks had been prepared for a while at that house in Alcanar by a group, the size of which is yet to be determined, and they had been preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona.

JACK PARROCK: In Barcelona, locals and tourists alike are trying to come to grips with a new reality, as the latest European city to be struck by a terrorist behind the wheel of a vehicle. The mood today was mostly calm, but somber.

MAN: Every city, big city is attacked now. It’s hard for me, though, to be here. It was really terrifying. But I don’t think it’s going to stop me to be here.

WOMAN: There’s police, obviously, everywhere. And it’s comforting in a way, because you feel safe when you’re walking down the street. And I think it’s amazing how many people there actually are today. I thought everybody was going to be scared on the Ramblas was going to be closed.

JACK PARROCK: And Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy agreed terrorism is now the main problem facing Europe.

MARIANO RAJOY, Prime Minister, Spain (through interpreter): This is what is concerning people the most in Europe today, and this is justified in the wake of the attacks we have witnessed in cities around us, like Paris, Nice, London, Berlin, and Sweden.

JACK PARROCK: It’s all calm here on the Plaza Cataluna now, but when there were demonstrations earlier and far-right protesters flared up against anti-fascist demonstrators, people were running for their lives, and there was real terror in their eyes.

For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Jack Parrock.

SHARE VIA TEXT