Les Ramblas is a large pedestrian mall almost a mile long that has been a place popular with tourists and locals alike for centuries. Yesterday, it was a scene of terror when a van deliberately mowed down people killing 14 and wounding scores of others. People from many different nations, including the United States were among the dead. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack but authorities have not yet confirmed the claim.
Five suspects were killed by police yesterday but the driver of the van has yet to be identified as one of them. They have also arrested four other people in connection with the attack.
According to NPR, “investigators believe those who acted were survivors from a gang who had been planning for weeks to carry out a bombing attack — but that they decided to use a van after their components blew up.”
One expert questioned how the perpetrators were able to pull off what seems like a far more complex plot than originally believed.
Frank Gardner, BBC security correspondent, was on the scene:
It suggests both an element of careful planning by the perpetrators and also a failure of intelligence by the normally-vigilant Spanish authorities. Spain has not experienced anything like this since al-Qaeda staged multiple bombings in Madrid in 2004.
The days and weeks to come will provide more answers but one thing is certain, terrorists at home and aboard have no intention of stopping their attempts to terrorize and kill innocent people because of their hateful ideology.
Today people have taken to the streets and to the plaza to let the world know that they will not be cowed in the face of such terror. Chanting, “I am not afraid,” throngs of people filled Les Ramblas to let the terrorists know that they would not win.