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QUEST MEANS BUSINESS
13 Dead in Barcelona Van Attack; ISIS Claims Barcelona Attackers as "Soldiers of Islamic State". Aired 4-5p ET
Aired August 17, 2017 - 16:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[16:00:00] RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: Good evening, it is 10:00 at night in Barcelona. The site of a terror attack that took place just five hours
ago. The Catalan president says 12 people are dead in an attack in the heart of the tourist district. Eighty people are in hospital, many of them
believed to have critical injuries. And moments ago, the ISIS media wing Amaq claimed the perpetrators were soldiers of the Islamic State. We can't
confirm this yet. This is just reporting that was being said at the moment, so what actually happened?
Well, the van started down the Las Ramblas at high-speed. Disturbing video of the scene of the attack shows pedestrians running for safety in shops.
And then I warn you, these are disturbing pictures. Wounded people laying on the ground. The Catalan police say two people have been arrested. The
government activated its chair protocols and held crisis meetings that ended a short time ago.
Another development to bring you, moments ago a vehicle struck two policemen at a checkpoint in another part of Barcelona. The police had
restricted traffic leaving the city. Officials say the officers have only minor injuries and they're not requiring hospital treatment.
Rylee Carlson is tracking all developments for us and joins me now. The first thing to establish the scale of the carnage on the Ramblas, I mean do
we have an idea how great it has been?
RYLEE CARLSON, REPORTER: Well part of understanding that, Richard, is also just understanding the scale of the Ramblas. This is a massive pedestrian
way in Barcelona. The beating heart of the city. Very much like the Champs-Elysees in Paris. It's full of bars. It's full of cafes. Full of
stores. And on any evening in August, it would have been packed with people. Now we know as you mentioned, 12 people have been killed in this
attack. That's the death toll so far, 80 people at least have been injured.
That's a very large number. And we know that at least 15 of those people are seriously injured. There are still concerns here that the death toll
could rise as well. Police have opened a terrorism investigation. They say that is what they are operating on at the moment. And now as you
mentioned, we've also heard claims from the ISIS affiliated news agency. That they say soldiers of the Islamic Caliphate carried out the attack.
QUEST: Let me -- the second incident of two police officers being run over. Related? Do we know, are these the two people who are said to have
been trying to get to a getaway car after the attack on the Ramblas?
CARLSON: Well we're still trying to figure out and confirm at this point exactly if that apparent attack on these two police officers is related to
what happened on the Ramblas. We know this happened in a town just outside Barcelona. Two Catalonian police officers were hit. We also know how and
we can report that the police officers hit by the car have minor injuries and they will not need to be hospitalized. So that is good news from that.
But we don't know at this point who the suspects were in that attack or if they are connected to what happened on the Ramblas, Richard?
QUEST: At the moment it's not clear whether the perpetrators of this heinous attack are still at large?
CARLSON: Exactly. And that's what's very difficult for investigators in the aftermath of this kind of attack. When there are so many people and
the chaos can be so great. As people are running everywhere. People are trying to get away. And it could be conceivably quite easy for somebody to
slip away into the crowd. So, we know that two people are arrested, the first person that was arrested is believed to be connected to the van. But
we don't know at this point how he might be connected.
QUEST: Rylee, we'll come back to you, when you have more report come back to us immediately. And will take you straight to air.
Spain hadn't seen this type of truck and van attacks that have hit Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm. But as Rylee was saying and is worth
pointing out this is the area that we are talking about. Anybody who has been to Barcelona is well familiar with the Ramblas. It is the heart of
the tourist section. It is the intersection, and this car came down the Ramblas, getting as far perhaps as the opera. Why is this so significant?
The van starts at the Playa Catalonia and it's a major transit hub.
[16:05:00] That's the other thing whether you're visiting the Cathedral or going to the La Boqueria market or the Opera or going to the Gothic quarter
itself. It doesn't really matter. At some point all roads, all transportation ends up going through Playa Catalunya. Now all services
have been shut down. It's important to mention that all major events have been canceled. As you can see. Hotels are taking in stranded visitors at
the same time.
So, the death toll, the number of people dead, the number of people dead started at 13. Then it was reduced to 12. Now back up to 13. Joining me
now is Peter Newman, the director of the international center for the study of radicalization and political violence. Thank you, sir.
You are in London. Let's talk to you about this claim. I won't say claim of responsibility. But it's an ISIS agency, ISIS site, Amaq, that said it
was Islamic State who did this even though it may not have been from the top.
PETER NEWMAN, DIRECTOR, THE INTERNATIONAL CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF RADICALIZATION AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE: Yes, and the claim itself is
credible. It is authentic, it was disseminated in the right forums on the Internet. The question is what connection, what link exists between ISIS
and these attackers? Were they fully signed up members of ISIS? Were they directed by ISIS? Or were they simply inspired by ISIS? In all of these
cases, ISIS would claim responsibility, which doesn't necessarily however, mean that ISIS actually directed the attack.
QUEST: It's interesting, but I question the significance in that sense, you know, you've got 12 people dead on the streets, 13 people dead and
possibly more will die on the streets of Barcelona. Does it make a difference if it's inspired, activated or directed?
NEWMAN: It makes a difference because it would tell the police for example, whether networks that exist in Barcelona are actually connected to
these attacks. Whether for example this means that other people knew about it. And that perhaps other people involved in these networks are planning
further attacks. It does make a difference to know whether this is connected to ISIS or whether this is a lone attacker who was simply
inspired from the incident.
QUEST: Let's go through the sort of attacks we've seen. Nice, height of the tourist season. Berlin, was at Christmas. London, hitting the major
areas of Westminster Bridge and the like. Now we come to Barcelona with the Ramblas. I'm sure you're familiar with the area. One can't think of a
worse area for the sheer number of tourists that would make this sort of attack so dreadful.
NEWMAN: Absolutely. If anything, it demonstrates what terrorism is all about. It's about inspiring terror. It's about creating the sensation in
the minds of the people that this could have been me. If you or I look at these pictures, were thinking about the times that we have been to
Barcelona. We've all been on the street and we're all thinking, this might have been us. I know exactly where this was. This is exactly what
terrorism is about. It's about killing a few people, but creating the sensation of terror in a whole society.
QUEST: Many of us. Myself certainly included are getting texts and e- mails from friends saying they were in Barcelona, yesterday or the day before or they still have friends in Barcelona at the moment. So, suppose
the impossible question for you, Sir, how safe is anywhere? Such as a major tourist destination at the height of the European summer season?
NEWMAN: I think, I still do believe, in statistics. And I think even as someone who studies terrorism, who looks at this day in day out that
statistically speaking the risk of being killed in a terrorist attack is still tiny, tiny, tiny. I would not hesitate going into any crowded space
anywhere in Europe. But of course, these attacks are, half the purpose of creating the impression in your minds, that it could happen anywhere. Any
time. I think if we allow ourselves to be too scared and are hiding away, we are kind of allowing terrorists to win.
QUEST: Valid point. Thank you, sir for joining us. Don't go too far away. We may be needing more from you in a short while.
[16:10:03] Sara Canals joins me on the line. She's a reporter for 8TV in Barcelona. Sara, can you hear me, it is Richard Quest in New York.
SARA CANALS, REPORTER, 8TV: I can hear you, good evening, Richard. How are you?
QUEST: Good evening, Sara. I need to tell you me where you are, and what you're seeing.
CANALS: Right now, I'm at the beginning of Las Ramblas, right away in the street of Las Ramblas, in Placa de Catalonia. In this intersection, where
the terrorist attack started. So, I'm here, at the beginning of Las Ramblas right now.
QUEST: I'm looking at a map as I am talking to you. We see the direction that the car went. What is the scene tonight? How much can you see? What
can you tell us of what is there now?
CANALS: I'm here for the last three or four hours, streets are empty. Police are everywhere. Still checking the streets, there has been about
100 people confined inside, several bars and restaurants around Las Ramblas. So right now, about an hour ago, the police started to take
people away from this place. So, that's what I've been seeing for the last hour.
Groups of people from 10 to 20 and going out from these places. Being surrounded by police and being assisted here in the Plaza Catalonia. Where
there's a lot of dozens and dozens of cars, police cars. So that's the situation right now. People are pretty's shocked. People are, there
silent. There's shock. People a few people want to talk to us, people are really emotional right now. Shocked. So that's the mood.
QUEST: When this happened, five hours ago, just over five hours ago, the car entered the Ramblas from the Placa de Catalonia, and it carried
straight down. It must have been the most horrific moment for the tens of thousands of tourists, thousands. Who would have been enjoying a beautiful
summer evening in August.
CANALS: Sure, and actually Las Ramblas, you said it's a tourist spot. There's always tourist walking around Las Ramblas. But also, a lot of
people here, people who have their bars, Catalunya. So, at the moment of the attack I was in the newsroom. We heard about, we heard about. We saw
some videos on twitter and we right away went to the area. But we couldn't believe it. We were also shocked. Because Las Ramblas, it's never empty.
There's a lot of tourists. There is a lot of people. So, it was pretty shocking.
QUEST: How tonight, tonight and I know you say that the people that you've seen and the people you're speaking to, they are, there shocked. Is there
a feeling, is there a feeling of fear in Barcelona tonight?
CANALS: Of fear?
CANALS: Yes. Yes, it is. Because actually we still don't know what happened, exactly. For several hours, there was a local media reporting on
an attacker being inside a bar. And holding hostages. But later, you know, police said it was not true. So, there's a lot of questions about
the attack and people. People are scared. We still don't know what's going on. There is a helicopter, I don't know if you guys hear it.
There's helicopters flying and checking the area.
We cannot move from here right now. And we don't know what's going on. Police have been delivering information, but they still are sending a
message of caution. People should stay home. People should or people who are leaving the restaurants where they were, they should go straight home.
So, yes. There is fear in the atmosphere.
QUEST: Sara Canals, a reporter joining us from ATV in Barcelona. Thank you, Sara and obviously when there's more to report, will come back to you.
Thank you, we appreciate it, we know you've got your busy duties for your own station.
Allow we just to recap as you look as you look at these pictures from Barcelona tonight where it is 10:15 at night.
[16:15:00] It's now known that 13 people have died in a van attack in the Spanish city of Barcelona, 80 people are in hospital. There have been two
suspects arrested. In a separate incident, perhaps related, we don't know to policeman were run over. We're not sure whether the suspects arrested
are related to that incident. But as you can tell from the pictures coming to us tonight live from Spain, second largest city. And the capital
Catalunya, it is one of those days when once again, Europe is under terror attack.
QUEST: As you would expect, we have been covering the entire program tonight on the events taking place in Barcelona. I'm about to show you the
video of the immediate aftermath on the Las Ramblas. I need to warn you. This video is graphic. Some of you may find it disturbing. It runs for
about a minute. And it was posted on social media.
(GRAPHIC VIDEO OF ATTACK)
QUEST: You have to see the video to appreciate awfulness and war of what took place. Ali Shirazinia was there when the attack happened and talked
to my colleague Michael Holmes a short while ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALI SHIRAZINIA, WITNESS TO THE BARCELONA ATTACK: I was on my bike. On the right side of the road. And I remember literally a minute or two after
writing past I guess their equivalent of the like a SWAT team guy with a big machine gun standing next to his truck, literally a minute after that,
I heard a lot of screams and I heard and I saw and I looked over to my left and I saw all of the people along the promenade split into two.
[16:20:00] You know, some going right, the rest some coming towards me. Then I heard a very loud kind of like it sounded like the guy that was
driving, whoever was driving the van kind of floored it.
And I see the white van come it looked like a utility truck or something. White van with some blue writing on the side. And it literally came
straight down the Ramblas. And ran into people you know, on every side. The Ramblas is full of pedestrians, street merchants, street performers, I
saw people flying into the air and everybody was kind of running into the shops on either side of the Ramblas.
And a lot of people were in shock. And that's basically all I saw. And then I actually right after that, I saw I think maybe four, five uniformed
police officers running after the van. There was actually heavy police presence in that area. Like there has been, all over Barcelona, all summer
long. But especially in that area. I think there was already a really large police presence in that area. That were able to act quickly somehow
and going after whoever perpetrated this.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: It's a chilling picture that you paint. It seems like an obvious question. But what was going through your mind at
the time? Did you immediately think terror attack? Or what were you thinking?
SHIRAZINIA: Yes. I mean you know, we all are living in interesting times right now. I think a lot of people, based on everything that's been
happening, over the years. What we read and what we see on the news. We all feel like we have to kind of be, you know, on guard. We all feel like
something like this is always around the corner.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: International reaction which has been coming in thick and fast. His Holiness the Pope has expressed his sorrow at the attacks. A statement
issued by the Vatican says the holy father is following with great concern what is happening in Barcelona. And the Pope is praying for the victims of
this attack. Wants to express all his closeness to the Spanish people in particular to the injured and to the families of the victims.
World leaders have been offering words of support, strong words of support for Barcelona. The European Council President, Donald Tusk, tweeted all of
Europe stands with Barcelona. Our thoughts with the victims and all affected by this cowardly attack on innocents.
London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said my thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona with their brave
emergency services. He continued London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism. And
the United States President, Donald Trump, has tweeted, the United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona and Spain. And will do whatever is
necessary to help. Be tough and strong. We love you.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has made a statement and said the terrorists will face justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REX TILLERSON, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We offer our condolences to the loss of life and the injuries that have occurred to so many innocent people
yet again. We will continue to monitor the situation, we stand ready to assist law enforcement, national security authorities in Spain. Our
consulates in Barcelona and our entire mission Spain team are currently assisting Americans in Spain who are affected by these events. We ask U.S.
citizens in the area to let your loved ones know you are safe. Terrorists around the world should know the United States and our allies are resolved
to find you and bring you to justice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: As we continue I want to bring the White House correspondent Kaitlin Collins, who joins me from Washington. We've had a tweet from the
President, and the Vice President, Mike pence, who is in Panama. He's actually put out, he's done a statement on this. Hasn't he?
KAITLIN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, Richard. We just heard from Vice President Mike Pence who is traveling overseas, he was at the
Panama Canal and he said this about the attack in Barcelona.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The latest scenes of carnage and mayhem sickened us all. As the president said earlier, today,
the United States condemns this terror attack. And we will do whatever is necessary to help. Whatever inspired today's terror attack, the United
States stands ready to assist the people of Spain and find and punish those responsible.
[16:50:00] 16:25:02] On this dark day, our prayers and the prayers of all the American people are with the victims, their families, and the good
people of Spain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COLLINS: As you can see, Richard, we heard from Mike Pence moments ago. We've heard from the first lady, Melina Trump. She actually tweeted about
this just before the President had even tweeted. Saying her thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the attack today and we also heard from
White House Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he was sending his prayers to Barcelona, Richard.
QUEST: The administration has to think of sort of the response. Doesn't it? In the sense of how to assist, especially if this does appear to be
some form of Islamic terror attack. And that balancing act that the White House will have to perform will be one that you'll be watching.
COLLINS: Yes, it will, will update you as soon as we know anything else.
QUEST: Thank you very much. Come back the moment there is more to tell me.
The Mayor of Barcelona has announced there will be a moment of silence in honor of the victims. To be held at the Placa de Catalunya. It will take
place at noon local time on Friday. That's 11:00 in the United Kingdom and of course, it will be 6:00 a.m. on the eastern coast of the United States.
Around the world. Around-the-clock. This is CNN.
[16:30:00] QUEST: And our Breaking News on CNN. ISIS propaganda is calling the Barcelona terror attacker soldiers of Islamic State, though it
hasn't officially claimed responsibility or indeed given any evidence to support a link to the attack. Authorities now say at least 13 people were
killed when a van drove into a crowd of people on the popular Las Ramblas area of the city.
Two suspects have now been arrested. So, Tom Foreman, now looks at exactly what happens and puts it into perspective. And again, I need to warn you,
this report contains images of the direct aftermath of this attack.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Police and rescue squads rushing to the scene, searching for the terrorists. Dozens of people on
the ground. Victims of the ferocious attack and those trying to help them. This was the horrific scene just moments after witnesses say a white van
turned down Las Ramblas, a popular pedestrian walkway in the Catalan capital. Jammed with restaurants, shops and tourists from all over the
world. According to eyewitnesses, the van raced along at close to 50 miles per hour, clearly targeting people for a third of a mile.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (translated on screen): It's really awful. Children and everything. Mothers and small children dead.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden there was this a tidal wave of people running towards us and they were hysterical. It wasn't just a small number
it was a large number of people. Children were screaming. There was clearly a lot of distress.
FOREMAN: The panicked rush for safety had local police at one point referring to a mass trampoline. And it wasn't over yet. When the van
finally crashed, other witnesses say to armed men jumped out. U.S. officials say the local authorities believe the men were trying to reach a
getaway vehicle, but instead ran into a restaurant.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The police were saying that go away, there's like an armed man, runaway, because you cannot be here.
FOREMAN: Amid the confusion, blood, shock and suffering, a few witnesses reported hearing shots. And as police led some to safety, others were told
they had to stay put and await evacuation. Even as the investigation, the manhunt and the agony roared around them.
QUEST: Tom Foreman and this investigation is fast-moving. It's complex. Jim Sciutto is our chief U.S.'s security correspondent, joins me now. Jim,
lets with this statement from Amaq, saying that they are -- not quite claiming responsibility, but claiming, putting this under the umbrella of
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF U.S. SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Calling the attacker soldiers of the Islamic State. ISIS has claimed attacks before that they
did inspire or direct and they've also claimed responsibility to attacks they had no connection to. There was one in Milan that turned out to be a
nothing. But regardless, if this were to be ISIS, a couple of things. One, it would be the first ISIS attack that they been able to carry out in
Spain. Not the first terrorist attack -- you remember the 2004 Madrid bombings in the wake of 9/11 more than 190 killed. But for ISIS, a first.
And two, also it would be unusual that the attackers did not appear to be suicidal, right? If it's true they were trying to run away to a getaway
car that would be an unusual modus operandi for ISIS militants.
QUEST: Assuming that -- we'll put the ISIS claim to one side for second. What else are we looking at?
SCIUTTO: Well Spain is interesting that it has not had the numbers of jihadists that other European countries, for instance, France or Belgium or
the UK has had.
QUEST: Why is that?
SCIUTTO: We don't know for sure. There are a whole host of things. The nationalities of folks there. The nature of the Muslim communities. It
hasn't had that kind of number. Also, hasn't sent the same number, nearly the same number of folks, volunteers to ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That said,
that doesn't mean there's nothing there. I was speaking to a security source of mine, who was just in Barcelona in recent weeks, profiling the
militant community there. Which he described as not large in number, but very insular, very tight, very hard to penetrate. Pakistani nationalist,
Moroccan nationalists, admiration not just for ISIS, but other terror groups, like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi from Pakistan.
QUEST: What does the U.S. do? Besides obviously, assist the FBI, the CIA and intelligence. But as a matter of policy, this takes us into -- I mean,
I don't want to political on the day when we are counting bodies. But I can see it's going to be long before the U.S. president is reminding
everybody that there is Muslim terrorism allegedly at stake here.
SCIUTTO: Well there's the political element and I wouldn't be surprised, either, if President Trump pipes in on this. He's piped in are ready to
claim solidarity with them and express sorrow, et cetera. If he takes a political step, you and I wouldn't be surprised. In terms of actual
counterterror cooperation, there is enormous cooperation between the U.S. and its European partners sharing of intelligence.
The fact is the United States has capabilities that are European partners don't have to the degree surveillance satellites, interception, et cetera,
that many of our allies rely on. The other thing that's been happening now and better I'm told in the wake of particularly the Paris attacks in
November 2015, is better sharing within Europe. Between the intelligence agencies in Europe. Because as you know, it's easy to move around from
country to country in Europe.
QUEST: Let's go through these terror attacks. You have, the Paris one in terms of using a vehicle. Nice, the height of the summer season.
Barcelona. Sorry, Berlin, Christmas market. London, at any particular time. West London Bridge is always going to be busy.
[16:35:00] Now this. I cannot -- having lived in Europe all my life. I cannot think of a better place or a worst place, depending on your
definition and your malcontent, in the Ramblas in the height of the summer.
SCIUTTO: Absolutely. No question. And certainly, it's going to be in an international attack, right? It's full of tourists. So, you're going to
have loads of nationalities who are affected. It's an effective and easy to acquire tool. A car. All you need to do is drive it. And keep in
mind, beyond the places you mentioned, it's been used as a weapon in Canada, a couple of times. And need I remind you, just on Saturday here in
the U.S. not by ISIS terrorists. But by a white supremacist drove a car, killed a young woman. So, extremists are drawn to this weapon for a
reason. It's easy. It works.
QUEST: And as are you are security correspondent, it's easy and it works. And it is fiendishly difficult, if not just about impossible, to prevent in
all its extremist.
SCIUTTO: You can track for instance, the material you need to make an explosive, right. And there's enormous efforts put on that. You can track
weapons, although harder here than in Europe. Cars? Anybody can get a car. A sad fact.
QUEST: And you can't block all the roads. Because --
SCIUTTO: Exactly. And there were attempts. Remember, in Nice and also here, these were areas with some reservations to where cars could go. But
cars can sometimes get through.
QUEST: Good to see you, sir.
SCIUTTO: Thank you, sir.
QUEST: So, continuing that idea that I've been just talking about with Jim, it's shocking and it's tragic and it is not unprecedented. The attack
in Barcelona is one of many that have turned vehicles into weapons. We'll explore that a little bit further after the break.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): There's been complete confusion. The police ordered us to close the restaurants. All our terraces have been
evacuated because people are panicking. The panic, you can't react. You don't know how to react. People are really scared. They are inside the
building. You close them all. The doors are bolted. No one can get out. It's complete panic.
QUEST: Complete panic. And all because once again, a vehicle has been turned into an instrument of death. Now just think about this for one
second as I was talking with Jim a moment ago. The vehicle, it is low cost. It's low maintenance and there's the events of the last six hours
prove, it's highly deadly.
And so, putting into perspective of recent events and you'll see exactly what we're talking about. Let's go back to July last year. Where a man
inspired by ISIS plowed a truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in France. Again, height of the summer season and a national holiday too. 85
people died in the horror of Nice. And in Berlin, before Christmas last year, it was a case for 12 people who were killed when a tractor-trailer,
this tractor-trailer, plowed into a festive Christmas market. The suspect was later killed in a shootout with police.
[16:40:14] London has had two attacks involving vehicles. The one in Westminster in March, where five people died. And then an attack on London
bridge, in June, where eight people died. It's not only those inspired by ISIS for inflicting this type of terror. Last week in Charlottesville,
Virginia, antiracism protester was killed, Heather Heyer, was killed, when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd.
Now, we need to put this into perspective. I'm joined by the academic and author, Fawaz Gerges, who joins me. He's the author of "ISIS: A History."
I often feel I already talked to you on these dreadful occasions, but it's good to have you with us tonight. I am grateful for you. Look, what's
your gut feeling? ISIS has said they were soldiers of the Islamic State. That is a very wide definition.
FAWAZ GERGES, ACADEMIC AND AUTHOR: Absolutely. ISIS, Richard, has claimed every single operation in the world in the past four years. Every single
operation. The foot soldiers of the caliphate, according to ISIS have basically carried out every operation in the world. Nonsense. Yes, the
ideology of ISIS. Yes, Al Qaeda or ISIS. The question is not whether ISIS directed the operation itself. The question is that the ideology of ISIS
and Al Qaeda have been provided motivation and inspiration. But we have to wait because we don't have all the pieces. All the information, Richard.
We can't speculate at this particular moment. Not only about the identity of the perpetrators, but also the number of the perpetrators as well in
QUEST: I think I have to ask you to sort of humor me for the purpose of this question. If this does appear to be another example, either of ISIS
directed or ISIS inspired, how serious a retrograde step, how big a step up is this? Bearing in mind the ability to strike in Barcelona.
GERGES: I mean, first of all, what really amazes me, Richard, about this particular attack against Barcelona is that Barcelona and Spain are not a
priority target for either Al Qaeda and ISIS. If you read everything, if you hear everything in the past four years, Britain, France, Italy, Germany
and the United States are the primary targets. The second point is that we don't have any evidence about large units, large cells of ISIS in Spain.
In fact, Al Qaeda is a much bigger organization in North Africa and Spain. And third, and finally. If you ask me, I want to answer your question
directly, I am speculating here. My take is that as ISIS loses big in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is bleeding. ISIS is on the retreat. We expect more
attacks in Western countries, including Spain. This could be a target of opportunity for local cell in Spain itself that carried out the attack.
Because the purpose is to terrorize and of course, look we are all talking about ISIS now.
QUEST: If we are talking about them and they are still a potent force they can execute this sort of murder on a major street in Europe, I ask you
this. How far is this inspiring -- how much effort is ISIS continuing to put in and other Islamic terrorist organizations, putting into turning
people within countries? Homegrown terrorism.
GERGES: I mean, I think this is the most important point that we need to be thinking about. Even though that ISIS is losing, you have thousands of
young men and women who are still inspired by this ideology. Regardless of whether ISIS has directed this attack or not, the reality is you have
thousands of young men. Whether you're talking about Egypt or about Afghanistan or Pakistan or Britain or Belgium or Berlin or what have you,
who are basically buying this particular ideology. The final thing on this point, Richard, the ISIS cycle has not run its course yet. Even though
ISIS is losing, my take on it, were going to see more and more attacks along these lines. Vehicles are the preferred weapon of choice. They
terrorize, they're simple, they're easy. And also, were talking about the transnational phenomena as well.
[16:45:00] QUEST: All right, you know, if the goal of terrorists is to put terror into our hearts so that we change our everyday lives, the answer
you've just given shows that they are succeeding. How do we battle against the possibility of random cars plowing down major thoroughfares in capital
cities or major cities?
GERGES: Richard, there's one single word. It's called resilience. One single word. I know it's very silly to say it as we have seen the savagery
in Barcelona today. We have to be resilient. We have to call a spade by its name. These are criminal networks. No more, no less. And we have
lived before basically with limited and small criminal networks. The reality is if we allow ISIS and Al Qaeda to terrorize us they win. This is
their strategic goal. Is to terrorize humanity. Not just in the West, but even in Muslim society. The reality is we must show resilience,
QUEST: And on the thought of resilience, we thank you, sir. We really appreciate it. Good to see you.
We're shortly getting an update from the authorities in Barcelona. And you can guarantee that will bring you the information from the news conference
soon as we have it. And if it's English will bring it to as well, and if we can get translation will certainly do that as well.
Because the news never stops, neither do we. This is CNN.
QUEST: Breaking News. The Catalan police say they have made two arrests this evening after the heinous attack in Barcelona. When a van drove into
a crowd of people -- more than a crowd -- thousands of people in the heart of the Ramblas district, killing 13. The incident took place on the street
popular with tourists. The area has obviously been sealed off. In many people who were caught up in the attack are still being held or at least in
cafes and bars. Until they can be, A, eliminated from investigations and B, evacuated from the scene, safely by the authorities. All in all,
everyone's been urged to be vigilant.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOAQUIM FORN, CATALAN INTERIOR MINISTER: I ask people to avoid leaving their homes. To avoid coming to the affected area, the Ramblas, and to
follow all of the recommendations of the police and the urban guard. The police are working on site. And I ask that everyone follows their
(END VIDEO CLIP)
QUEST: All official activities in Barcelona have been suspended. The cities football club is due to play the first game of La Liga this season
at home on Sunday night. Unclear at this point, if the game will go ahead. The players have expressed their condolences, as you might expect, on
[16:50:00] The Barcelona star player, the Argentinian, Lionel Messi posted this picture on Instagram with the message, I want to send my condolences
and my support to the families and friends of the victims of the terrible attack in our beloved Barcelona. And to totally condemn any act of
violence. We will not surrender.
Barcelona's Uruguayan striker, Luis Suarez, tweeted, very shocked at what happened in Barcelona. All my support to my city and family. And Real
Madrid's Welsh winger, Gareth Bale, has tweeted his support. Thoughts are with everyone in Barcelona tonight.
Hampus Hagander was in the area at the time. And joins me now live on the line from Barcelona. Can you hear me, sir?
HAMPUS HAGANDER, EYEWITNESS: Yes, I can hear you.
QUEST: Tell me as best you can what you saw and how you saw it?
HAGANDER: Sure. I was on my way home from work. I was walking very close to Las Ramblas and just as I was about to cross the crosswalk to the Las
Ramblas main street, the light turned red for the pedestrians. And the cars started rolling and out of nowhere a large white van accelerated at me
and all of a sudden it turned right onto the pedestrian street and it hit a group of people, of at least 10 to 15 people standing right across from me.
Across the street. And the car -- go ahead.
QUEST: So, to be clear, you actually saw, I think we need to understand, awfulness of this. You actually saw the van as it basically mowed down
HAGANDER: From the beginning. From the beginning and from the acceleration to the turn to the actual collision with the people to the
bodies flying over the van or to the side of the street. Everything. The police came and evacuated the people in the area and everything.
QUEST: You must be in shock at what happened to you today.
HAGANDER: Yes, oh definitely, it was a huge shock. I was barely 4 meters from the actual accident. If I had crossed the street and been in a hurry
or something and cross the crosswalk, I would've probably stood where the people who were in this terrible accident or this terrible collision.
QUEST: The feeling in Barcelona tonight, I mean I've been to the Ramblas many times. You know, it's one of those places you avoid if you don't want
crowds. And it's very touristy. But at the end of the day, it's an everyday place that thousands, tens of thousands of people go to. Isn't
HAGANDER: Definitely. It's a part of my daily commute. I work on the street on my way to work and on my way back from work. So, I cross that
road numerous times and it's a shock that something like this happen. Yes, it's a very popular tourist street as well.
QUEST: As there have been similar previous attacks, for example, in Nice, London or Berlin, have you ever feared for anything similar to this in
Barcelona? Or is Barcelona one of those places where one just doesn't think that these things might happen?
HAGANDER: Obviously, it's always been in the back of your head. It's not something that you go about every day. And it's pretty much impossible to
relate if it's going to happen and when it's going to happen, how it's going to happen. But sure, it's definitely something that crossed your
mind. Barcelona is such a commonplace for tourists. And Las Ramblas in particular is such an iconic street. in Barcelona. It's not a surprise
that it happened in that it happened, where it happen.
QUEST: One final question to you. Bearing in mind what you said to me already about what you saw, and the apparently exceptionally lucky escape
you had by virtue of the fact you didn't cross the road that you were thinking of crossing. Do you feel safe tonight?
HAGANDER: I'm in my apartment now, it's been a couple of hours here. So yes, I feel safe. There's more and more movement every hour that passes.
Traffic is starting to roll again and I would think it's almost back to normal here in central Barcelona. But there is still police all over the
QUEST: It is too soon to say how this affects the city where you live and that you love?
[16:55:00] HAGANDER: I think that's really hard. But considering how this affected the other areas in Europe. I think things will go back to normal.
And I think it has to go back to normal. This is something that we, we can't allow this to affect us in such a huge way. Obviously, we should
mourn the people who have been injured and really learn from what has happened. But we've got to move on. Pretty much every place in Barcelona,
I know that my office tomorrow will probably be closed. So, I guess we'll see what happens.
QUEST: Thank you. Hamper, I appreciate it. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us tonight. I appreciate it.
As we prepare to say goodbye to you tonight, allow me to update you. 13 people according to the authorities are known to have died in the attack on
the heart of Barcelona's tourist district, Las Ramblas. Another 80 people are in hospital. The ISIS media wing, Amaq, has claimed the perpetrators
were soldiers of the Islamic State. The story you known so far, the van went down Las Ramblas at high-speed. You heard the eyewitness telling you
exactly what happened. The video is simply disturbing and horrific. And it seems once again, Europe is facing the question of what to do when the
vehicle becomes the weapon of choice. I'm Richard Quest, thank you. Because the news never stops. Neither do we. This is CNN.