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ISIS Claims Responsibility For Barcelona Van Attack; Attack Celebrated By ISIS Supporters Online
On August 17, 2017, a van drove into a crowd of pedestrians near the popular Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, Spain, killing at least 12 people and injuring over 80 others. Shortly after the attack, the Islamic State (ISIS) posted a statement claiming responsibility, referring to the attackers as “soldiers of the Islamic State.” It added that they had carried out the attack in response to ISIS’s call to target the coalition countries fighting it. The statement, posted by the ISIS news agency A’maq, cited a “security source.”
Both Al-Qaeda and ISIS have encouraged vehicular attacks in the past. Recently, on June 24, 2017, ISIS’s Nasher News Agency published posters calling for stabbings and vehicular attacks; earlier, on November 26, 2016, the French-language ISIS news agency An-Nur Media Center, urged supporters to carry out attacks using trucks.
Also, after the July 14, 206 terror attack in Nice in which Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel killed 84 people with a truck, Al-Qaeda released a special issue of its English-language Inspire online magazine devoted primarily to that attack, Articles in it praised it and presented suggestions for improving such attacks to inflict greater carnage. In another response to the Nice attack, Al-Wafa’, a media company affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), published an article on July 18, 2016 titled “Spain [of] Fernando, We Vow [to Seek] Revenge,” by Abu Marya Al-Aseef, that called on Muslims to target nightclubs, shopping centers, ships, and airplanes in Spain using explosives, machine guns, and trucks. This, it said, was to avenge the crimes committed by Spain against Muslims, past and present, from the Inquisition to today’s participation in the coalition forces fighting terrorism.
The following are some of the reactions by ISIS supporters on Telegram, Twitter, and Instagram to the August 17 Barcelona attack. MEMRI will continue to provide updates on reactions as they are posted.
An Instagram user named Killkafir20 posted multiple items relating to the Barcelona terror attack. One image of bloodied victims reads “fear will be your life.”
Another post from the same account shows bodies strewn on the street and reads: “Death has come to your households.”
Telegram user Uways Al-Khilafa praised the attack, circulating the Arabic-language hashtags “#inside_your_homeland_
battles_take_place” and “#occupied_spain,” while mocking any condemnation of the attack by Spain’s supporters.
Several pro-ISIS Twitter accounts, like the @WTJNHV below, shared links to the November 2015 ISIS video released following the group’s Paris attack, along with the Arabic word “My Revenge.”
Others Twitter accounts such as @azdi_e, show below, circulated a message b slain ISIS spokesman Abu Muhammad Al-‘Adnani reiterating ISIS’s promised victory. The post was accompanied with the Arabic byline “A Message to the Leader of the Crusaders and Its Followers.”
A Telegram channel called Awais The Caliphate posted under the hashtag “#inside_your_homeland_
battles_take_place” that there were dead and injured “belligerent crusaders” in the terrorist operation in “occupied Spain” in Barcelona “province.” Addressing the “worshippers” of soccer star of F.C Barcelona Lionel Messi, it says: “prepare your tears, and cry, weep, condemn and scream excessively.” To the scholars of “dollars and pounds” it states: “prepare your fatwas, your condemnation and rejection of this criminal and terrorist act which distorts the image of Islam in the eyes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Real [Madrid] and Barcelona.”
One warning also circulating on Telegram was aimed at Moroccans: “A warning to the brothers in Morocco that they may be arrested as it was the case after the Paris attack.”
Several posters promising violence on European soil are also being circulated on pro-ISIS Telegram channels.
One poster reads: “Terror in Europe soon.”
Another reads: “Soak your knives with their blood, trust me it’s sweetest of all.”
The pro-ISIS Telegram channel Jews of Jihad published a series of posts lauding the Barcelona attack.
One post reads: “The fear ahhh we thrive on fear nothing gives more pleasure than seeing Crusaders in fear their voices filled with horror.”
“Viva Baqiya [remaining] 1-0 Barcelona.
“Abu Muhammad Adnani 1 – 0 Messi.”
One poster on the channel shared an image of a young victim of an airstrike in Syria. The poster reads: “Spain is part of international coalition created to kill Muslims.”
Abu Hasum wrote: “Qisas [punishment] my brothers qisas.”
Le frere solitaire wrote: “You are correct akhi [my brother].”
Abu Hasum added: “We tried to save their souls they did not want to listen to our dawa [preaching] so now they are punished.”
Le Frere Solitare wrote: “This attack is just a drop in the ocean of Muslim blood they have shed. There is much more they need to pay.”
On Telegram, “Jihad is our Path” echoed ISIS’s threat of attacking its enemies on their own turf, and wrote:
“Coming at You
“To the Heart of Your Lands
“We Will continue to terrorize you and ruined your lives.
“Just terror is our way of bringing the flames of war to you.
“You boasted of your planes and missiles.
“So the penalty of your strikes will be paid in your lands.
“Today, we fight you on our land, and tomorrow on your land, by Allah’s permission.
“Where is your security?
“Where is your ‘intelligence?’
“A Single Mujahid. Look at what he has done to you.”
 See MEMRI JTTM report Official ISIS Media Body Calls For Stabbing, Vehicular Attacks In The West , June 24, 2017.
 See MEMRI JTTM report ISIS French Media Outlet Urges Supporters To Attack With Trucks, Participate In ‘Media War’, November 29,2016.
 See MEMRI JTTM report AQAP Releases Special Issue Of ‘Inspire’ Magazine Praising Nice Attack, Offering Suggestions To Improve Future Operations, July 20, 2016.
 See MEMRI JTTM report Pro-ISIS Jihadi Writer Urges Muslims To Carry Out Attacks In Spain, Kidnap Spanish Professionals In North Africa, August 2, 2016.
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