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Terrorists looked to attack festivals in Barcelona and Benicassim

The men responsisble for the terror attacks in Spain last year researched music festivals and clubs to potentially attack next, Spanish police say

By Molly Long on 10 Aug 2018

Festivalgoers at the Rototom Festival in Benicassim

Festivalgoers at the Rototom Sunsplash Festival in Benicassim, Europe's largest reggae festival

image © Rototom Sunsplash Facebook

The group responsible for the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils on 17 August 2017 had also researched music clubs and festivals in Barcelona and Benicassim as potential next targets, police information acquired by Spanish news agency EFE has revealed.

According to the report, the men searched the internet extensively for information on the Rototom Sunsplash Festival in Benicassim, The Razzmatazz concert venue in Barcelona and various LGBT clubs in Sitges, Barcelona. It is thought by police that the group were taking inspiration from the 2015 attack on the Bataclan in Paris and the 2016 attack at Pulse nightclub in Florida.

The information released by police is largely the result of the mobile phone records accessed from a phone belonging to one of the members of the terrorist groups, found in the chalet in which they planned the 17 August attacks. Also on the phone were searches looking for the capacity of the Colossos club in Barcelona.

Other web searches included “Barcelona concerts calendar,” “all festivals 19.08.2017 in the Valencian community,” “major festivals in Sitges 2017” and “major festivals Sitges Les Barrancas”.

The Mossos d’Esquarda, the Catalonian police force, said an attack on any of the places researched in Barcelona and Benicassim would have been a “valid target” for a terrorist attack, since they represent, “by way of music and shows”, the Western way of life that runs against jihadist ideology.

Other web searches included “Barcelona concerts calendar,” “all festivals 19.08.2017 in the Valencian community,” “major festivals in Sitges 2017” and “major festivals Sitges Les Barrancas” (a rural area of Catalonia). The searches were conducted in the period from 13 August to 17 August, the days leading up to the attacks.

In the two attacks actually carried out by the terrorist group, some 15 people were killed. In the most violent attack, the one on La Rambla, a popular tourist destination in Barcelona, a further 130 people were injured. Six attackers were killed by police.

The news that terrorists sought to attack popular music events in Spain comes as similar attacks have risen in frequency in recent years. Alongside the Pulse nightclub shooting and the Bataclan attack, other attacks in just last year involving live music have included the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017 which killed 22 people, the shooting at BPM festival in Mexico in January 2017 where five people were killed and the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music festival in Las Vegas in October 2017, which left 58 people dead.


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