Feature: Witnesses recall moment police shot down terror suspects in Spain

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-19 05:09:17|Editor: Yurou
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by Gan Chun, Ying Qiang

BARCELONA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- "I was still shaking when I got back to our house from the beach," 17-year-old Luis Ibanez said, recalling the horrific moments on early Friday morning when five terrorist suspects were gunned down by police in the small seaside town of Cambrils in Spain.

The teenager came from Madrid to spend the vacation with his family in their summer house before starting university, but experienced probably the most shocking scene in his life so far.

The attack was launched around 1:00 a.m. Friday when the five suspects drove an Audi A3 onto the pedestrian area next to the beach and ran over seven people, among whom a woman died later in the hospital.

The attack came just hours after a van rammed into the crowd Thursday afternoon in Las Ramblas, an iconic touristic street in the heart of Barcelona, some 130 km away from Cambrils, leaving at least 13 people dead and over 100 injured.

"We were at the beach and we heard the shootings. We saw the attackers' car collided with the police car," Ibanez told Xinhua.

The suspects' vehicle then overturned after the collision, while the five got out and tried to attack the police with machetes and axes, before being shot dead.

As he heard the gunshots, having no place to hide next to the coast, Ibanez ran with other panicking beachgoers to the sidewalk above, where he saw the motionless body of one of the suspects on the ground, next to a police vehicle.

"We were told by the police to return to the beach, until they came back and told us it's ok to leave and go back to our houses," said Ibanez.

According to the Spanish news agency EFE, four of the five suspects were single-handedly gunned down by a female officer who was patrolling the area.

Moussa Oukabir, a 17-year-old believed to be the van driver in the Barcelona attack, was among the suspects shot dead, Spanish media quoted police source as saying.

Another witness who refused to be named showed Xinhua shaky footage he shot with his phone, in which pedestrians were seen running down the street amid the mixed sound of screaming, police siren and consecutive gunshots.

"One of them was shot down here," the middle-aged man pointed to the ground near the entrance to the beach, where small blood stains could still be traced.

He said he had been coming to the same beach every summer for the past 20 years but never seen such a horrific scene.

However, many tourists were seen returning to the beach on Friday afternoon to resume their holidays, including Ibanez.

"I don't think the terrorists will attack again here. I will continue to do the same thing as planned," he said.

At the site where the suspects were shot, just steps away from the now seemingly peaceful coastline, parked a police vehicle, with two armed officers observing closely passers-by.

Several live trucks from different television networks were also parked nearby, with journalists from around the world waiting to get more information about the aftermath of the attack.

Spanish police believe that the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils were plotted and carried out by the same group of suspects, who were originally preparing for a "larger" attack but were forced to withdraw the plan after bombing-making attempts failed.

The Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack, of which the victims are of 34 nationalities.

"The terrorists want to scare people away from Spain, but we must continue to enjoy our lives and show the world that our country is not afraid of these cowards," Alexandre, an elderly Cambrils local, told a group of reporters.