“Exercise heightened caution around areas of vehicle movement,” the US Department of State tweeted to warned Spain about a potential terrorist attack.
Rabat – The US Department of State issued a warning in a tweet posted on December 23. The department advised Spain to “exercise heightened caution around areas of vehicle movement, including busses, in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona during Christmas and New Year’s.”
The department noted, “Terrorists attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, and other public areas.”
Las Ramblas was targeted by two vehicle-ramming attacks in August 2017. The attack killed 13 people and injured at least 100.
#Spain: Exercise heightened caution around areas of vehicle movement, including buses, in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona during Christmas and New Year’s. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, and other public areas. pic.twitter.com/MPGiZwMwxq
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) December 23, 2018
After the US warning, El Pais said that Spanish security services are currently looking for a Moroccan terrorist suspect from Casablanca.
The news outlet added that the 30-year-old is “in possession of a bus driver’s license and he had a police record in Spain for insulting a member of the Civil Guard at Malaga airport in 2006.”
Prior to the warning, Spanish news outlets, including EFE, reported on the collaboration between Morocco’s security services and Spanish police in the arrest of a Moroccan terror suspect.
EFE quoted Spain’s Ministry of the Interior, saying that police arrested a Moroccan suspected of terrorism in Mataro in the province of Barcelona on Friday, December 21.
Moroccan authorities, according to the Spanish news outlet, described the 33-year old terror suspect as a “dangerous terrorist who fought in foreign territory.”
The statement added that the suspect left Morocco in 2014 to join ISIS.
The international community considers Morocco’s counterterrorism strategy a powerful mechanism to combat ISIS fighters.
Morocco was listed among the countries least impacted by terrorism by the 2018 Global Terrorism Index. Morocco ranked 132nd out of 163 in the report, gaining nine places compared to the 2017 report when it ranked 123rd.
Although Morocco had not had a terror attack since April 2011 in Marrakech, its security services are now investigating the murders of two Scandinavian tourists in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains as a possible act of terror.
Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ) made 13 arrests for the crime.
The bodies of the tourists were found on Monday, December 17.