Canadians affected by Barcelona attacks, Ottawa advises to avoid Las Ramblas

Canadians affected by Barcelona attacks, Ottawa advises to avoid Las Ramblas

OTTAWA — Spanish authorities say Canada is among 34 countries with citizens killed or injured in the terrorist attack in Barcelona.

Global Affairs says Canadians have been affected by the attacks, but did not provide further details, citing privacy reasons.

Canadians in Spain are advised to stay away from the Las Ramblas tourist area in Barcelona where an alleged terrorist drove a van into a crowd, killing at least 13 people and injuring more than 100.

A second attack occurred in the resort town of Cambrils south of Barcelona eight hours later, leaving one woman dead.

Spanish police have shot and killed five people carrying bomb belts and arrested two people who were connected to the Barcelona van attack, as the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of Europe’s latest rampage claimed by the Islamic State group. The driver of the van fled on foot and remained at large Friday morning.

Global Affairs spokesman Austin Jean says the government is in contact with family members of Canadians affected by the attacks and is trying to gather more information.

“Our thoughts are with the Canadians who were affected by the terrorist attack that occurred in Barcelona,” Jean said in a statement.

The department urged Canadians in Spain to let their loved ones know they are safe.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement Thursday that he was “deeply saddened” by the news.

“While we cannot ignore the outrage we feel, together we must renew our commitment to protect the freedom found in societies that promote unity, openness and inclusion,” wrote Trudeau, who has been out of the spotlight on a family vacation in British Columbia this week. “Spain, we grieve with you and denounce hate and violence in all of its forms. Canada will continue working with the international community to fight terrorism and build a world where we can all feel safe and secure.”

Travel organizations around the world responded to the attack, including the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC). Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, said: “I am extremely saddened to hear about these callous attacks in Spain, my heart goes out to the victims, their friends, and families. Barcelona and Cambrils are two beautiful and strong tourist spots. The Travel & Tourism sector offers its full support to all those impacted – both destinations, Spain, and its people – as it is going through these difficult times.”

UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai offered the following statement on behalf of the organization: “We are deeply saddened by this act of terror and the tragic loss of innocent lives. In these difficult times, our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims. This is again a cowardly attack against all of us and a strong reminder that we need to be united, as an international community, in fighting these forces of darkness and all acts of terror.

Tourists and Barcelona residents tentatively returned to Las Ramblas on Friday morning for a subdued stroll down the leafy boulevard, a day after the attack. Dozens of armed police officers in blue and neon-yellow uniforms were stationed near Placa de Catalunya and the street was still closed to vehicles, but all other signs of the previous day’s terror had been cleared away.

Newsstands were open selling papers and souvenirs, and by midmorning, some ice cream shops were starting to lift their gates. Notably still closed were the iconic flower stalls near where the van came to a halt. And metal gates covered the entrance to La Boqueria, the expansive market that is one of the city’s most famous tourist attractions.

A small memorial of flowers was placed at a fountain that is a common gathering-spot for FC Barcelona fans, as the crowds dispersed and the quiet returned.

 

With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press