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Pope Offers Prayers for the Victims of Terror Attack in Barcelona.

James Roberts-The Tablet - Sun, Aug 20th 2017

Hours after the Barcelona attack Catalan police foiled a second attempted attack using a vehicle as a weapon of slaughter in town of Cambrils

The day after Thursday (17 August) afternoon's Islamist terror attack on pedestrians, mainly tourists, strolling on Barcelona's Las Ramblas in the heart of the city, the names of those killed by the driver of the van, who deliberately mowed down as many men women and children as possible, started to be released.

First named among the 14 dead - a figure expected to rise as many of the 100 wounded suffered terrible injuries - was Italian father of two Bruno Gullotta, 35.

The Italian foreign ministry identified Luca Russo, 25, as the second Italian killed. He was on holiday with his fiancee who was injured but survived. A three year old child was taken to a nearby hospital but could not be saved, while a seven year old boy was reported missing by his desperate family.

Pope Francis offered prayers for the victims of the attack and their families. "With great concern the Holy Father has learned of what is happening in Barcelona," a Vatican statement released on 17 August by Greg Burke, director of the press office, said. "The Pope prays for the victims of this attack and wants to express his closeness to the whole Spanish people, particularly the injured and the families of the victims."
Cardinal Vincent Nichols also condemned the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, offering prayers for the victims:

"I am profoundly shocked and dismayed at the terrorist attacks targeting innocent people in the Ramblas area of Barcelona and in Cambrils. I pray for all who have died, those who were injured, and all who were affected by the senseless attacks. I offer my condolences to all who mourn those who have died.

"As we stand in solidarity with the people of Spain, I pray that God may restore peace and strengthen and sustain all people of goodwill in our resolve to stand united in the face of evil," the Cardinal said in a statement released 18 August. 

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack and the large number of countries of origin of the victims will serve its purpose of winning global attention. A spokesman for Spain's civil protection said that among the victims were nationals from France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Argentina, Venezuela, Belgium, Australia, Hungary, Peru, Romania, Ireland, Greece, Cuba, Macedonia, China, Italy and Algeria. 

 Hours after the Barcelona attack, which took place at 5.30 pm, the Catalan police foiled a second attempted attack using a vehicle as a weapon of slaughter in the seaside town of Cambrils 70 miles to the south. They fatally shot four people and a fifth died later of the inflicted wounds. The five were wearing what turned out to be fake suicide belts. Six civilians and one police officer were injured. 
Three people were arrested after the Barcelona attack, including a Moroccan man whose ID documents had been used to rent the van. Barcelona police said none was believed to be the driver who escaped on foot and remained at large.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, and other Western leaders quickly condemned the attack and promised cooperation in rooting out the perpetrators and combating Islamist fundamentalism.
The attack was Spain's worst since the Madrid train bombings of 2004 that killed 192 and injured more than 2000. 
In Nice, France, last year 86 people were killed by a man driving a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. A few days before Christmas a driver in a stolen van mowed down shoppers in a Berlin market, killing 12 and wounding dozens. Seven people were killed and dozens injured in London in June when terrorists rammed people walking on London Bridge before moving to Borough Market and stabbing as many people as they could with large hunting knives.
In March Khalid Masood drove a car into pedestrians on Westrminster Bridge, London, before fatally stabbing a police officer near Parliament. In Stockholm, Sweden in April the driver of a hijacked truck deliberately drove into crowds, killing five.  In the two non-Islamist vehicular attacks this year a British man drove into Muslims leaving a North London mosque during Ramadan, and in Charlottesville Virginia last week a white supremacist is accused of driving into a crowd killing one woman.  
Spain is a particular target fort Islamic State supporters, whose messages of congratulation and celebration of the mass murder were widespread on social media. Spain has taken part in coalition attacks on Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and, even more fundamentally, Islamists want to reclaim the country after Ferdinand and Isabella put an end to the Islamic conquest of 711 in 1492.
PICTURE: Police officers ask people to leave Plaza Catalonia following a terrorist attack in central Barcelona, Spain, on 17 August. 
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