As the investigation continues into the deadly terror attack in north-eastern Spain that killed 15 people and injuring more than 130, authorities have learned that the planning for the attack had a much larger objective. The suspects’ plans including the bombing of Barcelona’s Sagrada Família church.
One of the people that was killed in the attack has be identified as 42-year-old Jared Tucker, from Northern California. Tucker’s father stated in an interview that his son and wife were in Europe celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary when he was killed.
Following the deadly attack, Spain launched a comprehensive counter terrorism operation, resulting in the death of five terrorists hours after the attack and the arrest of four people that were linked to the attack. The driver of the van that was used in the deadly attack was also shot and killed by police in a separate incident.
The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the deadly attack. However, the police have not released any information pertaining to any possible links between the terrorist and the Islamic State. This does not mean that a link has not be established.
The four subjects have stated to police that they were part of a terrorist cell comprised of 12 Spaniards and one Moroccan man that was planning a large-scale attack in Spain. 21-year-old Mohamed Houli Chemlal, was one of the subjects that was arrested in connection to the deadly attack.
During questioning, Houli admitted to police that the group was planning a large-scale attack, but an accidental explosion at their safe house in Alcanar made them change their plans. The subject also stated that one of the targets that they had planned to bomb was the Barcelona’s Sagrada Família church.
The bloody images of victims screaming and lying on the streets in an all too familiar scene in Europe. In recent months Europe has fell victim to several deadly attacks that have been claimed by the Islamic State. In London, a terrorist drove a vehicle into passersby on bridges in two deadly incidents this year. In Berlin and Nice, a trucks plowed through crowds in the streets. But while the attack in Barcelona has similarities, at the same time it is very different.
The attack in Spain is different because of the complex planning and involvement of a large group of terrorists. The terrorist cell also planned more than one attack, but the quick reaction of the police and counter terrorist operations stopped any further attacks.
This attack was not carried out by someone that woke up one morning and decided that he wanted to kill in the name of Islam. These people had the knowledge to use explosives and traveled to different places, before they picked their targets.
The Islamic State has threatened more attacks in Europe as more and more refugees flood many European countries. It is unknown how many of their militants have entered these countries as refugees. Unfortunately, the possibility of more attacks on civilians in a real and it is something that is of great concern to the safety and security of Europe.