Using vehicles as weapons of terror in Europe

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Police cordon off Barcelona's popular Las Ramblas area after a van drives into a crowd of people in what is described as a terrorist attack

Police cordon off Barcelona's popular Las Ramblas area after a van drives into a crowd of people in what is described as a terrorist attack (AFP Photo/Josep LAGO)

Barcelona (AFP) - A driver deliberately ploughed a van into pedestrians in Barcelona on Thursday, killing 13 people in what police called a "terrorist attack".

Vehicles have been used as weapons of terror several times over the past year, often by by followers of the Islamic State (IS) group, attacking nations in the US-led coalition fighting the jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

The IS propaganda agency Amaq claimed that "soldiers" from the jihadist group carried out the attack, according to the Site Intelligence Group which monitors Islamist websites.

Police said they had arrested two suspects.

- Bastille Day Nice attack -

On July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, ploughs a 19-tonne truck into a Bastille Day crowd leaving a fireworks display in Nice on the Promenade des Anglais, killing 86 people on the famous beachfront avenue.

IS later claims Bouhlel as one of its followers.

- On June 19, 2007, Adam Dzaziri, a 31-year-old radicalised Islamist who had sworn allegiance to the IS, is killed when he rams a car loaded with guns and a gas canister into a police van on Paris's Champs-Elysees. No one else is injured.

- On August 19, 2017, a 36-year-old Algerian man, named as Hamou B., drives a BMW into soldiers outside a barracks in the western Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret, injuring six. After a car chase, police shot and wounded the suspect.

- London targeted -

On March 22, 2017, a 52-year-old British convert to Islam, Khalid Masood, mows down pedestrians on Westminster Bridge near parliament and stabs a policeman, killing five people and injuring around 50 before being shot dead by police. The attack is claimed by IS.

On June 3, the British capital is hit again when three attackers strike pedestrians with a van and go on a stabbing spree wearing fake suicide vests in bars in the London Bridge area. Eight people are killed before the assailants are shot dead by police. The attack is also claimed by IS.

On June 19, a van drives into a crowd of Muslim worshippers near a mosque in London's Finsbury Park area. One man dies and another 11 people are injured. A 47-year-old man is arrested and charged with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder.

- Berlin Christmas market -

On December 19, 2016, Tunisian national Anis Amri, 24, hijacks a truck and slams into a crowd of people at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 48.

Amri is shot dead by Italian police in Milan four days later after travelling through several European countries. IS claims responsibility.

- Stockholm shopping street -

An April 7, 2017 a truck attack in the Swedish capital kills five people, including an 11-year-old Swedish girl, a Briton, and one Belgian. Fifteen others are injured.

An Uzbek national, Rakhmat Akilov, 39, confesses to using a stolen beer truck to mow down pedestrians on Stockholm's busiest shopping street Drottninggatan. According to Uzbek police he had tried to join IS in 2015.