Another van attack in Barcelona kills at least one, injures many

Multiple sources, including the New York Times, report that at least one person has been killed and at least 32 injured in Barcelona after a van plowed into crowds of people on street along the route between the Plaza de Cataluña and Las Ramblas. I’m well familiar with that lovely area, as it’s the epicenter of the tourist’s Barcelona. In early reports, the police wouldn’t say that terrorists were responsible, but the Times is calling it a “terror attack,” perhaps because it resembled attacks conducted in several European cities by Islamist terrorists. The Mirror has pictures of the aftermath of the attack, including the injured, but be warned that the pictures are gory and disturbing.

The white van involved in the attack was abandoned on the Ramblas, and there are reports that two gunmen are holed up in a nearby bar, but that’s not verified. You can follow The Independent‘s live blog here.

Here’s the route of the van as given in the NYT.


  1. Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    I blame Catalonian foreign policy.

    Horrific pictures from Las Ramblas.

    • Geoff Toscano
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sure I understand your comment about Catalonian foreign policy, most of which seems to be a fight for independence. I assumed the attack is just the easy target, low tech, method of causing mayhem, by people who have little fear of likely capture or even their own death.

      • Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Satire, Geoff. Nearly every take within, say, 2 months of an attack in Europe is wrong. You have to wait that long for the security people to trace the MO.

        That said, I have difficulty imagining any non-serious hack will attempt to blame Catalonia: someone will have a go at Spain even though they have been barely involved in the ME for a decade. Someone will find out some problem in Cueta and Mehdi Hasan will hagiograph Muslim Spain in some throat-clearing journalistic da’wa. The ‘Pray For’ hash-tag, I suspect, is diminishing in returns, even among the most sanctimonious.

        God help us if Barcelona has some equivalent of the doggerel Tony Walsh hammed up after the Manchester atrocity. It’ll be Freddie Mercury & Monserrat Caballe singing ‘Barcelona’ for the next few days as we discover the troubled mental history and some form of alienation or sheer bad luck of Driss Oukabir, if he is the attacker.

        • Dave
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

          Spain’s primary “sin” is that it exists. According to Islamist doctrine, any land once ruled by muslims should be ruled by muslims forever. To stop these attacks, Spain should immediately abolish itself and return to being Al-Andalus.

        • Geoff Toscano
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Sorry Dermot, I missed the satire.

          I agree with pretty well all you say.

          • Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

            De nada y salud.

            • Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              Hassan Hassan has just written, “ISIS claims responsibility for the attack in Barcelona, says the ‘attackers’ acted in response to calls for attacking Coalition countries.” Looks like it’s from Amaq, IS’s media outfit, if my recognition of their house-style is accurate.

              Rather quick claim, in my experience.

  2. DW
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    I’m seeing reports on Reddit of two vans used, drivers have taken hostages in nearby restaurant. So, not an accident.

    • David Duncan
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


      “But police denied earlier reports of two suspected attackers being holed up in a bar in the city centre.”

  3. Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    BBC saying 13 dead.

  4. Merilee
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink


  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    I’m sure our president will wait a few days, until all the evidence is in, before weighing in to assign blame.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Unless they’re potentially Islamists.

      Amazing how he expected us to believe facts were so important to him. I saw one of his apologists on CNN insisting Charlottesville was different than other attacks and so of course the President was being especially careful!

      • rickflick
        Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

        Trump’s initial response and final position differ markedly from the statement he read (obviously written for him) in between which condemned the clear instigators. We don’t have to reflect deeply to figure out where his true sympathy’s lie.
        The Barcelona situation he is likely to handle with a tweet saying he was right all along…and complaining about the media, and complaining about Clinton or Obama.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:46 pm | Permalink


        • Heather Hastie
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          Here goes:

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted August 17, 2017 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

            Following this:

            • rickflick
              Posted August 17, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

              He’s getting even more predictable!

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 17, 2017 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

              He sent out another tweet suggesting that Muslim prisoners be shot with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood — viz., recommending that an international war crime be committed for the express purpose of terrorizing the civilian Muslim population. The man is a moral and intellectual dolt.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted August 17, 2017 at 9:17 pm | Permalink


    • Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      And those criticising him for a tardy response will be the first to call out a hateful ideology this time around.

    • David Duncan
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      I wonder if the Regressive Left will weigh in with condemnation. “Hope springs eternal.”

    • Craw
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

      I hope he will. He should shouldn’t he? Or should he scream about Basques on Twitter?

      This country has been torn apart by early reports that people have parroted and elevated to unquestioned facts and that proved wrong.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

        It would be best for the public weal if Trump desisted from tweeting in times of crises. His tweets are meant only to inflame his base.

        This afternoon Trump has tweeted about the legend of Gen. “Black Jack” Pershing terrorizing Muslims by shooting them with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

        • Craw
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          Of course Trump should tweet less but that has nought to do with the point under discussion. He has after all lots of ways to opine without twitter. Should he, in this instance, wait until we know who did this before he blames anyone? Because your initial comment was a sneer about him waiting for the facts.

          IMO waiting for the facts is one of the few times Trump did the right thing rather then his wonted shoot-from-the-hip style.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

            My initial comment was a sneer at Trump’s risible claim at his press conference on Tuesday that, unlike other people, he always waits for all the facts before making a statement about an event.

            It was not a sneer at the idea he should actually do so.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

              Also, Trump’s delay from Saturday until Monday in calling out the neo-Nazis and Klansmen in Charlottesville was not due to any additional factual investigation he conducted in the interim (what additional facts did he discover?); it was due solely to all the criticism he received for failing to call them out promptly on Saturday.

              • Craw
                Posted August 17, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

                Fields was definitively identified as the driver, and his participation in the activities of that group were confirmed. We went from mere presumption to certainty.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                I’m not talking about Fields and the car incident; I’m talking about denouncing the neo-Nazis and the Klansmen who were acting in his name.

                That they were doing so was crystal clear on Friday night (when Trump mendaciously claims to have seen “many good people” on tv marching among the torch-bearing Nazis), a day before Heather Heyer was run down by one of the Nazis.

                Trump planned no additional statement after the one he made Saturday. The only reason he read an additional prepared statement on Monday was because so many people, including many Republicans, gave him so much shit for failing to call out the Nazis and Klansmen by name on Saturday. Then, he turned around and went right back to giving aid and comfort to the alt-right when he went off script at his disastrous Tuesday press conference.

      • Perluigi Ballabeni
        Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Do you mean that Trump has ever heard of the existence of a Basque people?

        • busterggi
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          If they didn’t vote for him he doesn’t know them.

      • Carey
        Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

        I believe that Barcelona is in Catalonia, not the Basque region. Both Catalonia and the Basque region have separatist movements. They also have their own languages Catalan and Basque.

        • Craw
          Posted August 17, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          Which group would it be appropriate to blame before we know who did it?

          • Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            We know who has claimed it, and for some time before your comment, Craw. IS claimed it. It is a common urban myth that IS claim attentats with which they have had no direct involvement. It is not true. The one thing you can say about IS is that their claims of responsibility are usually true. If I were a security professional it would be perverse to assume a non-Islamist explanation, given the similarity with the Berlin, Nice, Stockholm, Paris and London attacks. I wouldn’t be doing my job.

            I don’t know what you stand to gain, Craw, by denying the most likely hypothesis. Sooner or later, the facts will emerge and you will be left looking like an ultra-sceptic unable to acknowledge the significance of a pattern of behaviour.

            • Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

              And…IS is circulating a video titled, “Who’s the Next?” A message to the Nation of the Cross. They named the Barcelona attack as “Ghazwa al-Spain” – roughly “Battle of Spain”. Never say that theocrats don’t have a sense of humour. They call the attacks, “free van rides to hell”.

              • Posted August 18, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

                “Free van rides to hell” is for the one driving the van, right? 😛 Anyway, we pretty much have hell here on Earth and ISIS one of the representatives. How ironic that they think they are the good ones. Even more sad and ironic that hell is a fictional place (at least it’s indistinguishable from a fictional place). Fighting and killing over fiction. 😦

          • Carey Haug
            Posted August 17, 2017 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

            Now that there is more information, it looks like the usual suspects, Islamic terrorists. Unfortunately, people commit murder in the name of their religion, ethnic background, ideology, or some combination of these factors. It is hard for humans to overcome their tribal tendencies.

            I agree it’s best to wait for evidence before jumping to conclusions, but humans often fail to think rationally.

  6. Paul S
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Slightly off topic. For those who would ban nazi protesters and hate speech, what of Linda Sarsour, CAIR and others who promote terrorism. Do we dox them and ban their speeches and rallies as well?

    If not, why?

    You’d be hard pressed to argue that their intent isn’t to harm others.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      No. Free speech takes priority. Intent is irrelevant. First amendment.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 18, 2017 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      I really do not understand your question.

      Some democratic nations have hate speech laws and use them, some nations don’t have them.

      But no nation – or even person – should *dox* individuals. (Even if US society for some reason has what I consider a perverse interest in the names and faces of criminals or suspects. That is borderline, since they do tend to keep web addresses and phone numbers out as far as I understand.) The ramifications of doxing is precisely what hate speech laws were motivated to act against, possibilities for violence (or privacy invasion, et cetera). I understand that idea as that states should act totalitarian and work against the best interests of their citizens.

      • Paul S
        Posted August 18, 2017 at 5:14 am | Permalink

        The question was directed to the commenters of PCC’s post on the Charlettesville incident who want to ban nazi hate speech and dox the protesters.
        Would they also ban Linda Sarsour, CAIR and other hate groups who cause real harm.
        What is their reasoning and why.

        Your response brings up another question. For those countries with hate speech laws. Do those laws change? Are new forms of hate speech continually added? If so, what is the criteria?

        Apologies for going off topic.

  7. busterggi
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Never should have taken down all the statues of General Francisco Franco (who is still dead).

    • rickflick
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      His enormous tomb is a major tourist attraction.

  8. Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Every driver controls a weapon of potential mass murder. The bigger the vehicle, the bigger the weapon.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      It is therefor incumbent upon everyone, in self defense, to upscale to the largest SUV they can afford. 😉

  9. Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink


    It is once more utterly incomprehensible why anyone would do such things.

    • Craw
      Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Is this ironic? It’s easy to understand why terrorists want to terrorize people who might make concessions to them, or people they hate.

      • Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        It’s one thing to understand reasons or motives, and another altogether to comprehend how someone can actually, in practice, carry out such deed.

        • kirbmarc
          Posted August 18, 2017 at 2:43 am | Permalink

          Manipulation through extreme guilt and shame. Most muslim terrorists are people who are in a personal crisis due to some reasons, and then are told that they’re not “good muslims” by “some people” and that the only way to “cleanse” themselves is to fight in the jihad against the disgusting kaffir.

          Imams who preach messages incompatible with Enlightenment ideals, and especially those who are Salafi or have Salafi sympathies are part of the environment that creates terrorism.

          Muslim ghettos where the only source of authority is a local regressive imam are part of the environment that creates terrorism.

          “Community leaders” who shame anyone who dares to stray even a little from muslim laws are part of the environment that creates terrorism.

          It’s time to face the truth that to defeat terrorism you need to fight the social and cultural power of Salafi/Wahabi preachers, to get muslims to integrate and leave the ghettos, to stop giving muslim bigotry a free pass or giving special exceptions from the rules and laws to muslims.

          • kirbmarc
            Posted August 18, 2017 at 2:46 am | Permalink

            We’re able to understand that neo-Nazi rallies and neo-nazi violence is encouraged by neo-nazi groups, and that everyone should condemn neo-nazism and fight their social and cultural power.

            We’re not able to do so with the social and cultural power of conservative islam.

      • Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

        I don’t understand how the terrorists can make that connection to civilians – people they don’t really know – to ”validate” the attacks. It’s extremely short sighted. But I understand it somehow makes sense to them in their twisted minds, otherwise they wouldn’t do it.

        • Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

          Ahmet S. Yayla, ex-Chief of Counterterrorism and Operations Division for the Turkish National Police and critic of Erdogan, points out that IS released an e-book recently in Turkish, for US and EU amateurs to conduct attacks on foreign soil. Around early July IS called for ‘lone wolves’ – a misnomer of course – to “stand up…in the fields”.

          From what I see, security analysts expect IS terrorist attacks in the EU and US to increase as the Caliphate is militarily defeated in Iraq and Syria. This is the richest terrorist group in history and they still have plenty of ackers. And global ideological reach: the Manchester attack was coordinated from Syria and Dallas.

          Dabiq 15, p.30 tells us their motivation. Like God said to the unlucky Abe, it’s because they don’t f&*kin’ like us. Westerners are just kaffirs and we’re all responsible for any offense they might think up.

          • Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

            Sounds like a sad coming future then. 😦

            I know that’s their motivation. But I guess most of us agree it’s extremely short-sighted to generalise Westerners like they do.

            I always think of the absurdity that is different extremist minds that all are so certain the head that they happen to be in have the right view of things.

            Think outside your head!

            • Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

              Bt the way – it also says in their book that God is ”the most merciful”. I wonder in what way that pans out? :-/

              • kirbmarc
                Posted August 18, 2017 at 2:49 am | Permalink

                God is merciful with those who convert to islam. God is not so merciful with Jews or Christians or atheists or Buddhists or all the non-muslims.

                The best Jews and Christians can expect under a muslim theocracy is to be treated as second class citizens and forced to pay taxes that the muslims don’t pay. “Pagans” are forced to either convert, leave the area or die. People who leave islam are to be executed.

                Islam is a violent ideology of social domination. Religion of peace, my ass.

              • Posted September 23, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

                This is an euphemism. Ancient Greeks had such euphemisms for their most feared deities: “Eumenides” (Well-disposed) for the Furies and “Meilichios” (Kind, Merciful) for some obscure underworld demon to whom they sacrificed pigs at night.

          • Posted August 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

            Here’s a text (work in progress):


            Please let me know if you or someone would like to contribute – I can send an invite (Google Docs). Even if it changes just one mind it might be worth it. The question is how to reach out to the minds that it’s aimed at…? Maybe release an e-book? 🙂

  10. Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Hi. I am interested in the Biologist/Scientist view of my philosophical post: (if you mind my posting my link here, please let me know, and I won’t do it again:)

  11. Perluigi Ballabeni
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    According to Spanish TV, at least 13 persons have been killed and 50 injured. A presumed terrorist has been killed by the police and one arrested.

  12. arizona jones
    Posted August 17, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    One source of live TV coverage is

  13. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 18, 2017 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    This was a confusing read, since the Spanish terrorists hired two vans and made two attacks in or near Barcelona. (Luckily the 2nd was far less in scope, even though it had more terrorists and bomb belts involved.)

    But I think the title points back to the recent US car terrorist, which is why the article looks a bit isolated (and there was a time lapse between the two attacks in Spain).

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