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History | Geography | Citizenship | PSHE

Terror in Barcelona as van targets tourists

At least 13 people have been killed and 80 were injured by a van that ploughed into a busy tourist area of Barcelona. Using vehicles for terrorism is increasingly common. Can it be stopped? Aamer Anwar is a well-known lawyer and academic. Yesterday, as he was walking towards Las Ramblas, one of Barcelona's most popular streets, he heard a sudden crash. "I turned around and people were screaming," he told The Guardian later. "I could see a woman screaming with her kids. People started running and jumping into shops." He began to run, and the police quickly arrived on the scene. He spoke to a local shopkeeper, who told him what had happened: a van had driven straight into a crowd. Soon, authorities in Barcelona confirmed that the incident was being treated as a terrorist attack. The van had driven down Las Ramblas targeting crowds of people. Many fled to safety - but at least 13 were killed and many more injured. Eventually, the van hit a newspaper kiosk and came to a halt. Two people have been arrested for the attack, but the driver is still on the run. Hours later, police stopped a second attack in the coastal town of Cambrils, where several people were injured. There are also investigations into whether an explosion in the small town of Tarragona could be related. Islamic State has claimed responsibility, but the extent of its involvement is unknown. World leaders sent words of support to the victims and the people of Barcelona. The King of Spain, Felipe VI, tweeted, "All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will be for everyone once again." UK Prime Minister Theresa May said the UK "stands with Spain against terror." US President Donald Trump said the USA will do "whatever is necessary to help". But for many observers, it is difficult to know what can be done. Using a car, van or lorry to kill and spread fear is an increasingly common form of terrorism. A woman was killed by a far-right terrorist driving a van in Charlottesville just last weekend. LondonThe capital city of the United Kingdom. It has a total population of 14 million.  saw three vehicular terror attacks in three months this year. They have happened in Paris, Berlin, Stockholm and Nice. Can anything be done to stop people driving into others out of hatred? Hard choices Yes, say some. Governments should pedestrianise city centres, particularly in capitals and other common tourist destinations. Where roads are essential, they should erect heavy bollards which are designed to protect pedestrians. That way, vehicles simply will not be able to reach the kind of crowds seen in Barcelona yesterday. This will not work, say others. Cars do not kill people - terrorists do. Governments cannot completely redesign cities because a few evil men have used their cars as weapons. If they do, those people will simply find another way to cause carnage. We must try to understand why people are drawn to terrorism in the first place, and tackle the problem at its root cause. KeywordsLondon - The capital city of the United Kingdom. It has a total population of 14 million.

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