'Study what General Pershing did to terrorists': Donald Trump shares debunked myth about 'pig's blood' executions hours after Barcelona attack

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Donald Trump has sparked a backlash after he responded to the Barcelona attack by sharing a debunked myth about a US General who shot Islamic terrorists with bullets dipped in pigs’ blood.

Just hours after terrorists launched a van rampage on Las Ramblas in the Spanish city killing 13 people, the US president tweeted: “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

His message references an untrue tale about US General John Pershing which claimed he executed Islamist militants in the Philippines using bullets smeared with pig’s blood.

The story has previously been widely debunked by historians and fact checkers.

However, President Trump also cited the tale during his election campaign in 2016 in front of large crowds in California.

At the time the speech sparked backlash from campaigners who claimed the story was not only untrue but used to incite racist violence.

Terror attack: A van mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona (AP)

US Congress member Ted Lieu hit back at the use of the story in response to Thursday’s attack.

He said on Twitter: “Dear wanna be despot @realDonaldTrump: Myth you cite is false. But even if true, the Constitution prevents mass executions with no trials.”

Emergency services carry an injured victim in Barcelona (AP)

Chris Murphy, US senator for Connecticut added: “This is a lie. Total fiction. It didn’t happen. It’s made up. Top to bottom.””

Catalonian officials confirmed 13 people were killed and 100 injured during the atrocity in Barcelona.

A white van mounted the pavement and veered into crowds at the tourist hotspot around 5pm (local time).

Police stopped a second attack in nearby Cambrils where five suspects wearing explosive belts were shot dead by police.

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