False alarm as Catalan police evacuate church in Barcelona

Xinhua Published: 2017-09-13 03:28:38
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Catalan police (Mossos d Esquarda) evacuated the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona and closed the adjacent metro station as part of an "anti-terrorist operation" which was confirmed as a false alarm on Tuesday evening.

Bomb disposal experts belonging to Spanish bomb disposal unit TEDAX were called to the scene to examine a van which was parked close to the monument.

The announcement was made at around 20:30 hours local time after the Mossos evacuated the emblematic symbol of Barcelona and also closed its metro station.

Bomb disposal experts belonging to Spanish bomb disposal unit TEDAX were called to the scene to examine a van with two occupants parked close to the monument.

The police posted a tweet announcing "as part of an anti-terrorist operation we are carrying out checks and have sealed off the area," adding that the streets Provenca, Rosello, and Sardenya' had been closed and advising people looking to pass through the area to find an alternative route.

However approximately an hour later the Mossos confirmed that the members of Tedax "ruled out that the vehicle was carrying dangerous materials," and announced that it was a "false alarm" and that the situation was "normalized."

The evacuation coincided with FC Barcelona's debut in the Campions League where they entertain Juventus under strict security measures with the Mossos asking for "patience" from supporters.

It is thought that the Sagrada Familia was one of the targets originally chosen by the terrorists who carried out the Aug. 17 attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils where 16 people lost their lives and they only changed to a van attack on the Ramblas and the Cambrils attack with knives and a car after part of the explosives they were preparing exploded, killing two of the 12-man cell.

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