In the past year, the Islamic State has devoted resources to translating their channels and messages into Spanish.
Although countries like France and Britain have repeatedly been named in Islamic State propaganda urging followers to plan and stage attacks, Spain has been less in the cross hairs.
The country has, however, been a transit point for recruits of the militant group, both for those going to Syria and those returning. The Spanish police arrested nine people in April who they said may have been connected with deadly attacks in France and Spain.
The attack appeared to follow the playbook of recent assaults in which attackers drove vehicles into crowded stretches of large European cities.
“While it’s not clear whether the attackers corresponded with ISIS prior to the operation, it’s clear that the methods used in the attack is something ISIS encouraged and incited over and again,” said Laith Alkhouri, a director in New York of the business-risk intelligence company Flashpoint, which tracks militant threats and cyberthreats.
In the French resort city of Nice, a man drove a rental truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the seaside Promenade des Anglais last year, killing 86 people.
A few days before Christmas last year, a driver in a stolen van mowed down unsuspecting shoppers at a holiday market in Berlin, killing 12 people and wounding dozens.
At least seven civilians were killed and dozens injured in June when knife-wielding assailants sped across London Bridge in a white van, ramming numerous pedestrians before emerging with large hunting knives to attack the capital’s Borough Market, a crowded nightspot.
The Islamic State claimed responsibility, saying the attack had been carried out by “a detachment of Islamic State fighters.”
That attack was reminiscent of another, on Westminster Bridge in London on March 22, when Khalid Masood, 52, drove a car into pedestrians, killing four people.
He then fatally stabbed a police officer near Parliament before he was shot and killed. The police treated that attack, in which 50 were injured, as “Islamist-related terrorism.”
There have been other deadly attacks using vehicles that were not related to Islamist extremists. A British man rammed a rental van into a congregation of Muslims leaving prayers in North London during Ramadan, and a man who was part of white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., drove his car into a crowd on Saturday, killing a woman.
Source Article from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/world/europe/barcelona-catalunya-van.html