Egypt Independent

The Latest: German campaign on hold after Spain attacks



Thousands of people including Spain’s king and prime minister have held a minute of silence for the victims of attacks in Barcelona and a nearby seaside resort.

King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, along with Catalan regional president Carles Puigdemont, stood in front of the crowd in Placa de Cataluyna during the remembrance. The participants then broke into applause before the crowd chanted repeatedly: “I am not afraid! I am not afraid!”

The minute of silence was held near where the driver of a van started an attack that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100 others on Thursday evening.

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11:50 a.m.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry says that there were multiple German citizens among the injured in the attacks in Spain.

German Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Friday that at the moment they know of 13 Germans injured, “some of them seriously, so seriously that they are still fighting for their lives.”

He says he could not confirm unsourced media reports that Germans were also killed in the attacks.

He says, however, “we also can’t rule that out.”

Footage has emerged of panic on Barcelona’s streets after Thursday’s van attack in the city’s historic Las Ramblas district. Authorities say one person is dead, and dozens have been injured. (Aug. 17)

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11:35 a.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is expressing her sympathy with Spain over the attacks in Barcelona, and says such violence cannot be allowed to change the European way of life.

Speaking to reporters in Berlin, Merkel said Friday that “these murderous attacks have once again showed us the total hatred of humanity with which Islamist terrorism acts.”

She added “we will not allow these murderers to make us depart from our path, from our way of life.”

She said “terrorism can cause us bitter and deeply sad hours, as has happened in Spain, but it won’t defeat us.”

She said the Foreign Ministry is still working with Spanish authorities to say whether any Germans were among the victims.

“This can’t be said with great precision right now,” she added.

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11:30 a.m.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has attended an emergency security meeting in Barcelona to coordinate the investigation into the terror attacks in the northeastern region of Catalonia.

Rajoy traveled to Barcelona on Thursday night after a van plowed into a pedestrian promenade, killing 13 people and injuring more than 100 others. Police then stopped a second attack in nearby Cambrils when they shot and killed five attackers who had driven a car into another crowd.

Rajoy met on Friday morning with Spain’s interior minister and police and emergency officials. He said on Twitter that the meeting was to “analyze the latest details of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.”

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11:20 a.m.

Belgian officials are identifying a woman from the town of Tongeren killed in the van attack in Barcelona as Elke Vanbockrijck.

Two officials, who declined to be identified on the record, confirmed Vanbockrijck’s name to The Associated Press on Friday.

Tongeren Mayor Patrick Dewael said in a tweet late Thursday that a woman from his town had died, and sent his condolences. He told Belgian radio that he had presided over her wedding in 2014.

Belgian media said the 44-year-old woman was holidaying in Barcelona with her husband and sons.

Foreign minister Didier Reynders also confirmed that two Belgians were injured in the attack, one of them seriously.

—By Lorne Cook

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11:10 a.m.

The Irish and Romanian governments have both confirmed that their nationals were among the 100 people injured when a truck was driven at tourists on Barcelona’s Ramblas.

Irish officials say a 5-year-old boy and his father are among those injured in the terror attack in Barcelona.

Ireland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, says a 5-year-old boy and his father received injuries that were not life-threatening. They were part a family of four celebrating the birthday of the youngster, who suffered a broken leg.

Coveney says it’s a miracle more Irish citizens weren’t hurt as “there are so many Irish people in Spain, Barcelona and Cambrils at this time of year.”

Romania’s foreign ministry says three Romanians are among the injured. All three were hospitalized, and the ministry said that two are in a stable condition while the third suffered light injuries. Romania’s consul there was in touch with the injured, who were not identified.

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10:50 a.m.

The Lebanese militant group Hezbollah is condemning the van attack in Barcelona claimed by the Islamic State group that killed at least 13 people.

In a statement issued in Beirut Friday, the group said the attack must be a renewed incentive to eliminate the group “whose ideology is based on hate.”

Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group whose military wing is considered a terrorist group by the EU, is fighting against IS, a Sunni organization, in both Lebanon and neighboring Syria.

The statement said that “targeting innocent civilians and killing them is part of a satanic plot being carried out by those terrorists, which aims at tarnishing the concept of jihad (holy war) and sullying the image of Islam.”

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10:35 a.m.

Catalonia’s regional president says that there’s at least one “terrorist still out there” after the attacks in Barcelona and a seaside resort.

Carles Puigdemont also told Onda Cero radio “we don’t have information regarding the capacity to do more harm.”

It wasn’t immediately clear if the person on the run is the driver of the speeding van that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 100 others on Thursday evening in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district.

In the early hours of Friday, police killed five suspects in the resort of Cambrils after a car plowed down and injured six people near a boardwalk. One of the injured was a police officer. Police said the suspects were wearing fake bomb belts.

Police have three people in connection with the attacks.

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10:20 a.m.

German politicians have agreed to tone down election campaigning for the day in the aftermath of the attacks in Barcelona and a seaside resort.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s main challenger in the September election says he spoke with her and both agreed to limit campaigning.

The Social Democrat’s Martin Schulz told reporters in Berlin on Friday that they made the decision “as a sign of solidarity for those people affected in Spain” by the attacks.

He says: “these are bitter days.”

Schulz added that there was a “common will that there is no place for terror” and that Europe would continue to be an “open tolerant society.”

Speaking of the attackers and their backers, he says “one has to send them the message that they will not win.”

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10 a.m.

Catalan authorities are confirming that the five suspects killed in a police shootout in the seaside resort of Cambrils had plowed down pedestrians and police in a car attack and were wearing fake bomb belts.

The attack early Friday in Cambrils came hours after a white van mowed down tourists and locals in the popular Las Ramblas promenade in Barcelona, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 100.

Catalonia’s interior minister, Joaquim Forn, tells Onda Cero radio that the suspects in Cambrils were driving in an Audi 3 and began plowing down people when they reached a populated area near the boardwalk. A police car was damaged and an officer was among the six people injured.

Forn says the suspects killed in a subsequent shootout with police were wearing fake bomb belts. He says the belts were very well made, and that authorities only determined they were phony after a controlled explosion.

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9:35 a.m.

A town mayor in Belgium says a woman from his town has died in the van attack in a major tourist area in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

Patrick Dewael confirmed in a tweet late Thursday that the woman was from Tongeren, 90 kilometers (56 miles) east of Brussels, and sent his condolences. He told Belgian radio that he had presided over her wedding in 2014.

Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also confirmed that two Belgians were wounded in the attack, one of them seriously.

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9:20 a.m.

Barcelona’s famed Ramblas walkway has quietly reopened to the public, the morning after a van rampage that killed 13 and wounded more than 100.

Police closed down the city center Thursday evening, after the van zigzagged down the packed Ramblas before the driver escaped.

Friday morning, residents and tourists were allowed past police lines and slowly trickled back to their homes and hotels. The city center remained under heavy surveillance.

A demonstration that will include a minute of silence honoring the victims was announced by public officials for Friday at noon at the Plaza Catalunya, next to the top of the Ramblas, where the deadly attack began.

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9:05 a.m.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has condemned the van attack in Barcelona, and extended his condolences to the families of those killed.

In a statement Friday, Abbasi said such terrorist attacks cannot scare the brave Spanish people.

He said “so long as the terrorists underestimate the spirit of the societies they seek to undermine, they will lose”.

Abbasi’s comment came a day after a van barreled down a busy walkway in central Barcelona, swerving back and forth as it mowed pedestrians down.

Thirteen people were killed and 100 were injured, 15 of them seriously, in what authorities called a terror attack.

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9 a.m.

Danish authorities have confirmed that there are two Danes among those “lightly wounded” following the deadly van attack on tourists in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

Leaders in the Nordic and Baltic region are rushing to condemn the attack. Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said he was “horrified by reports from Barcelona,” while his Danish counterpart Lars Loekke Rasmussen said Europe has “again been attacked by terror.”

In Norway, Prime Minister Erna Solberg called it “a cowardly attack,” her Estonian colleague Juri Ratas called it “brutal” and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said it was “despicable.

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8:50 a.m.

Catalonia authorities say a third person has been arrested in connection with the Barcelona van attack that killed at least 13 people.

Catalonia Interior Minister Joaquim Forn told Catalunya Radio on Friday that the suspect was taken into custody in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll.

On Thursday, one of the two suspects detained in the hours after the Las Ramblas attack was arrested in Ripoll and another in Alcanar.

Police said neither of the two people detained Thursday was the driver of the white van that plowed down pedestrians. The driver escaped the scene on foot.

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8 a.m.

French officials say 26 French nationals were among the dozens injured in a van attack in Barcelona, and Australia says one of its citizens is unaccounted for.

Spanish authorities previously said the dead and injured are from 24 countries. The attack involved a van that veered onto a busy promenade in downtown Barcelona and struck pedestrians. Thirteen people were killed and 100 injured.

One of the dead was Belgian, and Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told reporters: “We are concerned for one Australian who remains unaccounted for.”

France’s Foreign Ministry said Friday at least 11 of the French nationals who were hurt had serious injuries.

Australia also says three of its citizens were injured, one seriously. Two with slight injuries were Taiwanese. A Greek woman and a Hong Kong resident were also hurt.