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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Barcelona terror attack: victims from at least 34 countries

Italians, Belgian and Spaniard among the dead; 25 French and 13 Germans among the injured

The dead and injured in Barcelona were a snapshot of the world — men, women and children from at least 34 nations — testifying to the huge global appeal of the sun-kissed city with its bounty of must-visit sites and star-studded football team.

Families, friends and government officials from Paris to Sydney, San Francisco to Berlin scrambled Friday to discover whether their loved ones and citizens were among those mowed down by suspected Islamic extremists who zig-zagged down Barcelona's always crowded Las Ramblas promenade in a white van, killing and maiming indiscriminately.

Close to home, El Pais reported that Francisco López Rodríguez, from Granada, was killed. His wife was seriously injured, the paper said, while her niece and youngest son were also killed.

In Belgium, the KFC Heur Tongeren football team was mourning the loss of Elke Vanbockrijck, the mother of two of its junior players, ages 10 and 14. The boys and their father, a policeman, were unhurt, the club president, Arnould Partoens, told the Associated Press. But Belgium officials confirmed that the mother was among the 13 people killed in Thursday's attack in Barcelona, where the family was on vacation.

There was also another fatality — taking the overall total to 14 — in a related attack late Thursday in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, south of Barcelona.

France, already struck repeatedly by terror attacks on its own soil, again was hit hard, counting 26 of its citizens among the more than 100 people injured in the Spanish attacks. The French foreign ministry said at least 11 were seriously hurt.

Two Italians were among the dead. One was a young father from Legnano, a town in northern Italy, who was on holiday with his family. The death of Bruno Gulotta, 35, was announced by his employer, computer company Tom's Hardware, on Friday. "Our friend and colleague Bruno Gulotta was run over and killed by an odious terrorist in the heart of Barcelona," a statement on the company website read.

Paying tribute to the kindness and generosity of their co-worker, Gulotta's colleagues said his violent death had left his wife Martina facing "trials no-one should have to bear".

"We put ourselves in the shoes of little Alessandro, who was is about to start elementary school knowing his and his family's life will never be the same again. And we think of baby Aria ... who will never know her Dad."

Italian media reported that Bruno had been holding five-year-old Alessandro's hand just before he was hit by the van. Martina had one-year-old Aria in a baby carrier and managed to pull her son out of the way.

The German foreign ministry counted at least 13 Germans injured — some "so seriously that they are still fighting for their lives", said spokesman Martin Schaefer.

Two Australian women, including one traveling on a British passport, were seriously injured, and two Australian men were treated for injuries in hospital but then discharged, said Australia's foreign minister Julie Bishop.

A 5-year-old Irish boy suffered a broken leg and his father was also injured, according to the Irish government. They were part of a family of four celebrating the boy's birthday.

Romania's foreign ministry says three Romanians were hospitalized; two are in a stable condition while the third suffered light injuries.

According to Spain's civil protection agency, the injured came from countries such as Pakistan, Britain, Venezuela, Mauritania and China. Also reported among them were two Taiwanese, a Greek woman and a Hong Kong resident.

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