American confirmed dead in Barcelona terrorist attack, one injured

An American citizen has been confirmed among the dead following Thursday’s van attack in Barcelona. Another U.S. citizen was injured with a minor wound.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made the announcement Friday that an American is one of the 14 people killed during the massacre in the city’s Las Ramblas.

“We have now received word and confirmed the death of one American citizen in the terrorist attacks in Spain,” Tillerson said during a media briefing.

The identity of the American citizen was not immediately released.

Over 100 people were injured during the attack.

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Police: Several people stabbed in Turku, Finland

Police in Finland have shot and arrested a suspect after several people were stabbed in the city of Turku.

The public has been asked to move away from the city center, Turku police tweeted.

Turku is in Finland’s southwest and lies around 140 kilometers (around 85 miles) west of the capital, Helsinki. It is a Swedish speaking city.

Developing story – more to come

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State Department: 1 American killed, 1 injured in Spain terrorist attack

The State Department announced Friday that at least one American was killed and one injured in the attacks in Spain, The Associated Press reports.

Two Italians were the first named victims of Thursday’s terror attack in Barcelona.

Italy’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter that Bruno Gulotta, a father-of-two, and Luca Russo were among the 13 killed after a vehicle mowed down crowds of people on Las Ramblas, a pedestrianized thoroughfare in the heart of the city, on Thursday.

Gulotta was on holiday with his partner Martina and two children, five-year-old son Alessandro and daughter Aria, who is a few months old, according to his employer.

“Yesterday afternoon in Barcelona the terrorists killed friend and colleague Bruno Gulotta,” his employer, Tom’s Hardware Italia, said in a statement Friday. “Today is a day of mourning.”

Roberto Buonanno, the manager of Tom’s Hardware Italia, said: “Little Alessandro … is getting ready to start primary school knowing that his life and the life of his family will never be the same. And [our thoughts go to] little Aria, that [she] does not see the terrible scene in her eyes, but will never know her father”.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Gulotta lived in Milan, Italy.

Citizens from at least 34 countries are among the 14 dead and more than 100 injured in the attacks in Barcelona and the coastal town of Cambrils, according to officials.

Early on Friday, five armed attackers wearing fake explosive belts drove through a crowd of people in Cambrils, killing one woman. Police killed all five attackers in a shootout.

Twenty-six French citizens have been injured, with at least 11 in a serious condition, the French Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Thirteen German nationals were injured and hospitalized, ”some seriously and still fighting for their lives,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer announced Friday.

The Australian government has said four of its citizens were hurt — two men have been discharged from hospital, while two women were in serious but stable condition.

Two people from Taiwan were severely injured and were undergoing emergency treatment, according to the China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Four Irish citizens of Filipino descent were injured, said the Foreign Affairs office in the Philippines, while the Peruvian consul in Barcelona confirmed one of its citizens was injured but not seriously so.

More to follow.

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Las Ramblas: First terror attack in Spain for years

Spanish police say they are treating a deadly van ramming in Barcelona as a terror attack — a revelation that is likely to come as a shock to a country that has largely been spared the assaults that have hit its neighbors in recent years.

The Spanish capital, Madrid, was hit by its deadliest terror attack in history in March 2004, when coordinated bombings on commuter trains killed 191 people and injured 1,800 more.

The bombings were blamed on Islamist militants, who were based in Spain but inspired by al Qaeda.

When that attack happened, Spanish media and officials thought initially that the Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA), a Basque separatist group, might have been responsible.

The Spanish government says that ETA has carried out more than 1,600 attacks and killed more than 800 people in its decades-long fight for an independent Basque state that it wants carved out of sections of northern Spain and southwestern France.

The ETA attacks have largely stopped, though the group carried out bombings as recently as 2010, mostly small-impact explosions that caused few injuries. In October 2011, the group declared an end to its armed activity, and this year it said it had completely disarmed.

After several attacks in Europe, as well as Tunisia, Spain raised its terror threat level in 2014, and again in 2015. It now sits at four, or “high,” out of a maximum level of five.

Spanish officials said they had “worrying indications” about the growing risk of a terrorist attack in Spain months before they raised the level in 2014, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais.

Deadly vehicle rammings have struck other key cities in Western Europe recently. In the French city of Nice, 86 people were killed last year when a truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille day. ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack.

In Berlin, a similar attack on a Christmas market in 2016 killed 12 and injured 48.

And last April, an Uzbeki man killed five people when he drove a beer truck into a crowd in Stockholm’s city center.

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Canada sees ‘unprecedented’ surge in asylum seekers

Canada is facing an “unprecedented” number of asylum seekers who have crossed the border from the United States, officials said.

“We’ve never seen those numbers,” said Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) spokesman Claude Castonguay. “Even though our officers are patrolling 24 hours a day all year long, we’ve never seen such numbers coming in.”

RCMP intercepted almost 7,000 asylum seekers in the last six weeks in Quebec.

Officials stressed that the influx can be handled and at no time has the security of the country been compromised.

But they cautioned that while Canada remains an open, welcoming country, crossing into it is not “a ticket for permanent residence.”

“Coming to Canada, asking for asylum in Canada is not a guarantee for permanent residence in Canada,” said Louis Dumas, spokesman for the immigration ministry in a Thursday press conference.

About 80 to 85% of the asylum seekers are of Haitian descent, according to RCMP.

The number of people intercepted in Quebec has soared in recent months from 781 in June and 2,996 in July to 3,800 as of August 15, according to RCMP.

Dispelling misleading information

Officials also tried to clear up misinformation spreading through social media and WhatsApp that claimed Canada is inviting people to claim asylum, reported CNN’s partner CBC.

“It is not a message from the government of Canada,” Dumas said. “Strict processes are in place for all people claiming asylum, regardless of how they enter into Canada.”

He said 50% of Haitians who requested asylum in 2016 had their claims rejected.

Quebec’s premier Philippe Couillard had posted on his Facebook last week that it was a “very delicate situation.”

“It is unfortunate that these very vulnerable people were convinced that admission as a refugee in Canada and here in Quebec would be simple, even automatic. That’s not the case at all. There is no guarantee that asylum applications will be accepted, given the strict rules that govern them.”

Why Haitians are leaving the US

Many Haitians have headed to Canada over concerns that they’ll lose their temporary protected status or TPS, in the US.

Shortly after the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the Obama administration granted Haitian immigrants — who had already been living in the US — with temporary protected status.

The program allowed them to work and shielded them from deportation. It also provided them temporary refuge considering that Haiti had suffered one of the deadliest earthquakes in history, and the country was seen as too unstable for people to return.

The program had since been repeatedly renewed. But earlier this year, Department of Homeland Security officials said conditions in Haiti were improving since the earthquake — and that the program could be terminated next year.

DHS officials urged Haitian recipients to prepare for the program’s potential expiration in January 2018.

This has sent a wave of Haitians across the northern border. Many of them have expressed concerns they’ll be deported if they stay in the US.

But Canada ended its version of a program that was similar to the TPS for Haitians last year, the CBC reported. This means Haitians without status can be deported from Canada.

Many asylum seekers have headed for Quebec where Montreal has a large Haitian community.

Amid the influx, asylum seekers are being sheltered at Olympic Stadium, where Montreal had hosted the summer games in 1976.

Taking their chances

Experts have cautioned that it’s not so easy to meet government requirements under Canadian asylum laws. They have said the fear of deportation from the United States isn’t enough to make an asylum case in Canada. The process of making a case through the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada can take months and end in rejection.

But hundreds of people are taking their chances.

In the border town of Champlain, New York, taxis arrive continuously as asylum seekers haul their belongings and help their children cross into Canada.

Just footsteps away, the Canadian Border Services Agency have sent up tents where officers process the new arrivals, reported CNN affiliate WPTZ. The number of people arriving has created a bottleneck at the border with more than 1,000 people waiting to be processed, according to the RCMP.

As of July, Canada processed 21,695 refugee claimants, according to government figures. It’s already 90% of the total number that officials registered last year.

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