Hezbollah says Barcelona attacker ‘tarnishing jihad’
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Hezbollah says Barcelona attacker ‘tarnishing jihad’

Lebanese terror group decries IS killing of innocent people; meanwhile, Jerusalem links Spain to Israel, calls for concerted effort against terrorism

Medical staff and policemen stand in a cordoned-off area after a van plowed into the crowd, injuring several people, in Barcelona on August 17, 2017. (AFP/Josep Lago)
Medical staff and policemen stand in a cordoned-off area after a van plowed into the crowd, injuring several people, in Barcelona on August 17, 2017. (AFP/Josep Lago)

The Hezbollah terror group said Friday that a car-ramming attack in Barcelona a day earlier claimed by the Islamic State was “tarnishing jihad.”

At least 13 people were killed and more than 100 injured when the driver drove his van onto the sidewalk in a popular tourist area of Barcelona Thursday, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State. He is still on the run.

Hours later, a car injured at least six people when it was driven onto a promenade in the resort town of Cambrils. Five assailants wearing fake bomb belts were killed in that assault.

Officials have said the incidents are likely linked.

Women wave a Lebanese flag and Hezbollah flags in front of portraits of Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil on August 13, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Zayyat)
Women wave a Lebanese flag and Hezbollah flags in front of portraits of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (R) and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, in the southern Lebanese town of Bint Jbeil on August 13, 2016. (AFP Photo/Mahmoud Zayyat)

“Targeting innocent civilians and killing them is part of a satanic plot being carried out by those terrorists, which aims at tarnishing the concept of jihad and sullying the image of Islam,” Hezbollah said.

The Lebanese group, a proxy for Iran, is considered a terror group by Israel and the US among others. It has been fingered for dozens of deadly bombings and other attacks on Israelis and Jews in Israel and abroad, and its leader regularly threatens to attack the Jewish state.

While the EU recognizes Hezbollah’s armed wing as a terror group, it has not extended the designation to its political flank, a major force in Lebanon’s coalition government.

The group is fighting against the Islamic State in Syria and has issued similar condemnations after other attacks in Europe claimed by IS.

It called for a renewed fight against Islamic State, “whose ideology is based on hate.”

Defense Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu faction at the Knesset, July 10, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Defense Avigdor Liberman leads a faction meeting of his Yisrael Beytenu faction at the Knesset, July 10, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also spoke out on the attacks, calling for a joint effort between Western states, including Israel, against terror apparatuses.

“It’s on all of us to fight with determination and resilience not just against attackers, but also on those who send them, those who fund them and those who inspire them,” he said in a statement released by his office.

President Reuven Rivlin linked Israel’s experiences with similar attacks in offering condolences to Spain’s king Friday.

President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a memorial event for pre-state Zionist leader Ze'ev Jabotinsky at Jerusalem's Mount Herzl Military Cemetery on July 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
President Reuven Rivlin speaks during a memorial event for pre-state Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl Military Cemetery on July 23, 2017. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

“Sadly, we, in Israel, are no strangers to the horror and grief that follows such murderous attacks and can truly understand the pain you all feel now,” Rivlin said in a letter to King Felipe VI, according to his office. “Terrorism is terrorism is terrorism, whether it takes place in Barcelona, Paris, Istanbul or Jerusalem.”

The scene of a truck-ramming attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of East Jerusalem on January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)
The scene of a truck-ramming attack in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of East Jerusalem on January 8, 2016. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

Israel has experienced dozens of car-ramming attacks, mostly in Jerusalem and the West Bank, over the last several years. Israeli officials have sought to link similar attacks in Europe, usually claimed by the Islamic State, to Palestinian vehicular assaults.

“These horrific events once again prove that we must all stand united in the fight against those who seek to use violence to stifle individual liberty and freedom of thought and belief, and continue to destroy the lives of so many,” Rivlin added.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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