World leaders condemn ‘cruel and cynical’ Barcelona terrorist attack

World leaders are united in their condemnation of the terrorist attack in Barcelona which claimed the lives of 14 people. Nationals from at least 18 countries fell victim to the van plowing massacre in the busy Las Ramblas district of the city which also injured over 110 people.

LIVE UPDATES: Van smashes into pedestrians in central Barcelona

Russia

President Vladimir Putin was one of the first world leaders who publicly condemned the La Ramblas van attack that left 14 dead.

“We strongly condemn this cruel and cynical crime perpetrated against ordinary citizens,” Putin said in a statement while offering his condolences to Spaniards and the King of Spain, Felipe VI. He underlined that Barcelona’s terror attack “reaffirms once again the need to truly unite the efforts of the entire international community in the fight against terrorist forces.”

‘Van was going fast, stopped, then plowed into more people’ – Barcelona attack eyewitness to RT

Putin's message to the Spanish people followed reaction by Russia's foreign ministry.

“We strongly condemn the terrorist attack in Barcelona, and we are sure that there is no justification for this evil,” the ministry said on Twitter.

“We convey the words of sympathy to the people of Spain. We mourn together with you.”

USA

Reaction from US President Donald Trump has meanwhile sparked some criticism. While initially condemning the terrorist attack in Barcelona and offering to “do whatever is necessary to help,” Trump in his next tweet, advised his followers to, “study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

While Trump did not clarify what he meant, the US general Pershing Trump was referring to, fought in the Moro uprising in the Philippines and allegedly shot prisoners with bullets "dipped in pig's blood." Many critics pointed out though that the claim is false.

Following Islamic State’s (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claim of responsibility for the Barcelona massacre, Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the US-led coalition to defeat the terror group pledged the “unwavering resolve of our entire coalition to destroy ISIS.”

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and UN Envoy Nikki Haley all condemned the attack.

“Terrorists around the world should know the US and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice,” Tillerson was quoted as saying by State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert‏ in her tweet.

Former US President Barack Obama also could not stay silent and condemned the attack on Twitter.

UK

In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May said that London stands with Spain against terror. 

“I am sickened by the senseless loss of life in Barcelona today,” she said. “The Foreign Office is working to establish if any British nationals were involved in this appalling incident and we are in close contact with the authorities in Spain who have our full support.”

READ MORE: House explosion in Alcanar, Catalonia may be linked to Barcelona terrorist attack – police

May’s message was echoed by Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, whose city has endured numerous terrorist attacks, tweeted that the UK capital “stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.”

“My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services,” he tweeted.

Germany

Berlin has also expressed condolences to families of the victims.

“We are thinking with profound sadness of the victims of the revolting attack in Barcelona – with solidarity and friendship alongside the Spanish people,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.

France

French President Emmanuel Macron called the incident a “tragic attack.”

“All my thoughts and the solidarity of France are with the victims of this tragic attack in #Barcelona,” Macron tweeted. “We remain united and determined.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo meanwhile said the world famous Eiffel Tower would go dark at 00:45 Paris time in solidarity with the Barcelona victims.

“Parisians are at your side,” Hidalgo tweeted. “Barcelona and Paris are cities that share love and tolerance. Our values are much stronger than this heinous and cowardly act of terrorism.”

Vatican

The Holy See meanwhile noted that Pope Francis is praying for the victims. The Pontiff was “greatly worried” about Thursday's attack and is following developments closely, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said, according to AP.

“The Pope prays for the victims of this attack and wishes to express his closeness to all the Spanish people, especially the wounded and families of the victims,” the Vatican statement said.

On Thursday a van crashed into a crowd in Barcelona killing 14 people and injuring over 110 others, according to Catalonia authorities. Police say they are treating the incident as a “terrorist attack.”

READ MORE: 4 terror attacks in Europe when vehicles were rammed into pedestrians (VIDEOS)

Spanish authorities have so far detained two suspects. One is a Spanish national from Melilla, a Spanish autonomous city located on the north coast of Africa, on the Moroccan border. The other person arrested in the incident is Moroccan. None of the two are believed to be the driver of the van. The investigation continues.