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article imageSpain vehicle attacks: What we know

By AFP     Aug 17, 2017 in World

At least 14 people were killed and more than 100 others injured after cars deliberately slammed into pedestrians in Spain in two separate attacks, one on Barcelona's most popular street and another in a busy seaside town.

- What happened? -

Around 4:50 pm (1450 GMT) on Thursday, a white van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians on the famous Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona.

One of the city's busiest streets, the promenade is normally thronged with tourists and street performers until well into the night.

The van ploughed through the crowds for more than 500 metres (yards), leaving bodies strewn along the boulevard as others fled for their lives.

The driver fled on foot. So far police have yet to confirm his identity and it remains unclear whether he was killed in subsequent police raids or is still at large.

- Second attack -

About eight hours later, just after midnight local time (2200 GMT), an Audi A3 hit pedestrians on the seafront promenade in Cambrils, a resort town some 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Barcelona.

Six civilians and a police officer were injured. One of the civilians, a woman, later died.

In the car were five men with fake explosive belts, an axe and knives who were shot dead by police.

- Who are the victims? -

The two attacks killed 14 people and wounded around 100 others, with tourists from three dozen countries caught up in the carnage.

Among the dead and the injured were nationals from Australia, Britain, China, France, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Mauritania and Venezuela.

At least one American was killed in the attacks along with three Italians, an elderly Portuguese woman and a Canadian.

So far France appears to have the most citizens affected, with 28 wounded, eight of whom are in serious condition.

- Who is behind it? -

Both attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Police suspect at least 12 people of involvement in the attacks, many of them Moroccans but the interior minister insists that the cell has been "completely dismantled" with only one suspect still at large.

Investigators are currently hunting for Younes Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year-old Moroccan with unconfirmed reports suggesting he may have been the Barcelona van driver.

But police say the driver may have been one of the five killed in the Cambrils car, saying the investigation "points in that direction."

Three of those killed in Cambrils were Moroccan nationals: Moussa Oukabir, 17, Said Aallaa, 18, and Mohamed Hychami, 24.

Another four suspects have been arrested, a Spaniard and three Moroccans, one of whom is Moussa's older brother Driss, 27.

The last two are believed to have died in an explosion late Wednesday in Alcanar, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) south of Barcelona, that was initially thought to be a gas leak.

Police later confirmed a link to the cell, saying the men had accidentally set off explosives they were preparing in order "to commit attacks of an even bigger scope".

- 2004 attack -

Although Spain has largely avoided the Islamist bloodshed that has blighted Europe in recent years, it remains the scene of the continent's deadliest jihadist attack when bombs ripped through commuter trains in Madrid in March 2004, killing 191 people.

That attack was claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired extremists.

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