‘Lessons learned from the Barcelona and Cambrils terrorist attacks.’

Nuria Querol1,2, Ariadna Trespaderne1,2, Alba Company1, Alba Pedrola1, Director Miguel Angel Soria1

1Crime Behaviour Analysis Unit, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2Comunidad de Inteligencia y Seguridad Global (CISEG), Barcelona, Spain


On August 17, 2017, a terrorist drove a van into pedestrians on La Rambla in Barcelona, Spain, killing 16 people and injuring more than 130 others. Nine hours, five men thought to be members of the same terrorist cell drove into pedestrians nearby Cambrils, killing one woman and injuring six others. All six of those attackers were shot and killed by police, and three men were put on trial for helping the jihadists. DAESH is dynamic and evolves constantly, therefore after every terrorist attack, a detailed analysis must be carried out to identify if there have been weak points in the detection of radicalization and recruitment methods, if terrorists had police records (also in other countries) as well as if identify a new modus operandi. In the aftermath of the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, we identified negative outcomes such as working long hours for first responders (especially law enforcement and EMS), the delay in receiving psychological treatment for the victims, and the refusal of the government to consider them as victims of terrorism, which caused institutionalized victimization (some survivors developed PTSD). The police officers that intervened directly in the incidents were not considered victims of terrorism. A positive outcome was the solidarity of the citizenship and the acknowledgment of police officers. A Spanish court on May 2021 handed jail terms of up to 53 years to three men who helped the jihadists behind the 2017 Barcelona attacks.


Medical Doctor, Biologist, and Criminologist. Prof. Profiling And Crime Behaviour Analysis Group, Law School, Univ. Barcelona. National Sheriffs’ Association Advisory Board Member, USA. NSA’s DV and Crime Victim Services Member, USA. Certified expert of The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress®. NSA’s Animal Cruelty Committee. Representative of the Council of Medical Societies at the National Comission Against Domestic Violence, Government of Catalonia. Representative of the Council of Medical Societies at the Working Group on Sexual Violence & Stalking of the National Comission Against Domestic Violence, Government of Catalonia. Member of WONCA (World Organization of National Colleges, Academies and Academic Associations of Family Physicians ) Special Interest Group on DV. USA Delegate of CISEG (Global Intelligence & Security Community).