Barcelona terror attack: CIA 'warned police Las Ramblas was prime target'

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US security services warned Spanish police a jihadist terror attack on Barcelona was highly likely in an alert issued two months ago, according to reports.

The CIA told Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra police force the city was in the crosshairs for a terror strike like those to have hit London, Paris and Berlin in the last 12 months.

Spanish newspaper El Periódico said it had learned of the warning after 13 people died and dozens more were injured when a van ploughed into crowds on Las Ramblas early on Thursday evening.

The popular tourist spot had been flagged in the alert as being at particularly high risk, the Catalan daily said.

13 dead and more than 100 injured as van driver brings terror to Barcelona

El Periódico also reported that barely two weeks ago a Twitter account linked to Islamic State announced that an attack on Spain was imminent.

The post referred to Spain as Al Andalus, the name for Iberian Peninsular under Muslim control in the middle ages.

It said: “We are going to set up a caliphate in Spain and we are going recover our land. Attack imminent in Al Andalus. God willing.”

Terror struck in Barcelona shortly before 5pm on Thursday, with a white van mounting a pedestrianised zone in the heart of Barcelona and mowing down dozens of people as it zig-zagged down Las Ramblas.

And overnight police also shot dead five terrorists as they tried to carry out a second atrocity linked to the first.

The men wearing suicide belts rammed civilians with a car in the Spanish seaside town of Cambrils, about 50 miles from Barcelona.

Footage from the scene showed the attackers’ bodies strewn around the seafront. Bystanders fled for their lives, taking cover on the beach when gunshots rang out at around 1am local time.

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