World leaders condemn ‘cruel and cynical’ Barcelona terrorist attack
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.”
Putin's message to the Spanish people followed reaction by Russia's foreign ministry.
Решительно осуждаем теракт в #Barcelona. Уверены, этому злу нет оправдания. Передаём слова сочувствия народу Испании. Скорбим вместе с вами— МИД России 🇷🇺 (@MID_RF) August 17, 2017
“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.”
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!”
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
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.
We send thoughts & prayers to lift up those affected by today’s terror attack. We stand w/ Spain now and always in our fight against terror. pic.twitter.com/Mnvth9mekh— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) August 17, 2017
“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.
Sec Tillerson: Terrorists around the world should know the US and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice. #Barcelona— Heather Nauert (@statedeptspox) August 17, 2017
Former US President Barack Obama also could not stay silent and condemned the attack on Twitter.
Michelle and I are thinking of the victims and their families in Barcelona. Americans will always stand with our Spanish friends. Un abrazo.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 17, 2017
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.”
May’s message was echoed by Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary.
Concerned and saddened by #Barcelona attack. Our thoughts are with those affected. Doing all we can to identify whether Brits need help.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) August 17, 2017
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.— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) August 17, 2017
“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.
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.
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.”
Toutes mes pensées et la solidarité de la France pour les victimes de la tragique attaque à #Barcelone. Nous restons unis et déterminés.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 17, 2017
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.”
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.”
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.