FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 20, 2017

The terrorist cell responsible for the vehicle attack in Barcelona that killed 13, including one American, on Thursday originally intended to target the city's iconic Sagrada Familia cathedral, Spain's El Español reported Saturday, citing police sources. The church was reportedly chosen for its religious symbolism as well as its busy flow of tourists, but the plan was ultimately abandoned after the terrorists apparently mishandled their own explosives stockpile.

The cathedral instead became the site for a memorial service for the victims' families Sunday.

Authorities believe the terror cell had 12 members and collected 120 gas cannisters to use in vehicle attacks. Five cell members were fatally shot by police; four were arrested; and three — including Moroccan-born Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22, believed to be the driver in the Barcelona attack — remain at large.

The manhunt for the final suspects continued Sunday, though two sets of unidentified remains could account for two of the three missing men. The remains are from an explosion at a house in Alcanar, Spain, on Wednesday, the incident thought to have canceled the cathedral plan. Abouyaaqoub fled the scene of the Barcelona attack on foot and may have crossed the border into France. Bonnie Kristian

August 19, 2017
Irina Shvets/Getty Images

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for a stabbing attack Saturday morning that wounded eight people in the Siberian city of Surgut, Russia. The attacker reportedly ran down a main street in Surgut, stabbing at random until he was fatally shot by police. The ISIS statement was published several hours later.

Russian authorities have yet to comment on the attacker's identity or motives, though they called for calm and announced four of the injured are in critical condition.

This attack comes close on the heels of multiple other fatal terror attacks elsewhere in Europe this week. ISIS also claimed responsibility for the vehicle rampages in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain, on Thursday and Friday but has yet to claim Friday's stabbing in Finland. ISIS often claims responsibility for terror attacks with which it has no organizational connection, only ideological affinity. Bonnie Kristian

August 19, 2017
Vesa Moilanen/Getty Images

Police in Finland arrested a man accused of stabbing eight people, killing two and injuring six more, on Friday in the southwest city of Turku. Police reported that they shot the 18-year-old Moroccan man in the leg after his alleged attack.

"The act had been investigated as murder, but during the night we received additional information which indicates that the criminal offenses are now terrorist killings," authorities said Saturday.

Eyewitness reports of the incident offer conflicting accounts; some say the suspect was heard yelling "Allahu akbar," but others say the screams were people saying "watch out" in Finnish. Bonnie Kristian

July 2, 2017
Louai Beshara/Getty Images

At least 19 people were killed and another dozen wounded Sunday when a car bomber eluded police in Damascus, Syria. Police were tracking three vehicles and caught two of them, safely detonating the car bombs without casualties.

The third vehicle escaped, striking on the first normal workday after celebrations to mark the end of the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. "The terrorist bombings killed and wounded several civilians and caused physical damage to the area," a local official told state-run media.

Damascus remains under the control of the Bashar al-Assad regime and has enjoyed relative stability and quiet in the Syrian civil war, though the Islamic State detonated a car bomb in the city earlier this year. Sunday's attack has not been claimed by any terror group so far. Bonnie Kristian

June 18, 2017

At least two tourists were killed Sunday after three gunmen attacked the Le Campement resort near the capital of Mali, CNN reports.

Two of the three gunmen were also killed, and a third is missing. Mali's Ministry of Security and Civil Protection said the attack was carried out by "armed individuals, certainly terrorists," who exchanged gunfire with the country's anti-terror forces. Police rescued 32 people, and three U.N. staffers injured in the attack have been taken to a local hospital. The Le Campement is popular with tourists and expats who host meetings and retreats there.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a travel warning, urging Americans to avoid locations that do not have a lot of security, including hotels, restaurants, and churches. Catherine Garcia

May 28, 2017
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

British police on Sunday arrested a 25-year-old man in connection to the suicide bombing in Manchester that killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert Monday. This is the 14th arrest linked to the attack; 12 people remain in custody.

On Saturday, police released photos of Salman Abedi, the Manchester-born man responsible for the bombing. "We are gathering a detailed picture of Abedi as the investigation develops and now need people to tell us if they have any information about his movement," said an official statement.

British Home Secretary Amber Rudd has also implemented a temporary exclusion order, requiring special vetting for "suspected Islamic terrorists" seeking to return to the U.K. until it is certain Abedi does not have accomplices still on the loose. "The operation is still at full tilt," Rudd said, with about 1,000 people working the case. Bonnie Kristian

May 28, 2017
Ted Aljibe/Getty Images

The bodies of eight men who appeared to be civilians executed for attempting to flee hostilities were found Sunday on the outskirts of Marawi City in the Philippines, where militants claiming ties to the Islamic State terrorist group have staged a six-day occupation. By one body, a sign was placed reading "munafik," which means "traitor" or "hypocrite."

This brings the death toll of the conflict to about 85, including at least 19 civilians. Controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in the area as government forces combat the rebels using ground troops and airstrikes.

Civilian evacuations are also underway. "Some have no food at all. Some fear for their lives," said Zia Alonto Adiong, an official organizing rescue efforts. "This is a conflict that has gone beyond proportion. The magnitude of the degree of the damage and the people that are affected ... it's really massive." Bonnie Kristian

April 9, 2017
Stringer/Getty Images

At least 15 people were killed in the Somali capital of Mogadishu on Sunday by a suicide car bombing believed to be a failed assassination attempt targeting the new Somali military chief, Ahmed Mohamed Irfid.

The blast occurred on a busy street near the Somali defense ministry. The bomber attempted to crash the armed vehicle into an envoy carrying Irfid but hit a minibus carrying civilians instead. "When we arrived at the scene, we counted bodies of 15 people, most of them were severed," said Mire Aden, a police chief. "A number of soldiers are among the dead," Aden reported, and none of the injured civilians survived.

The al-Shabaab terrorist organization, which frequently bombs official targets in Somalia, claimed responsibility for the attack. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads