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Tourist caught in Barcelona horror cheated death for THIRD time after being caught up in London and Paris terror attacks

Mirror logo Mirror 18/08/2017 Sophie Evans
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A young tourist caught up in the Barcelona terror attack has cheated death for the third time in three months - after she also narrowly avoided two other ISIS atrocities.

Julia Monaco, 26, was shopping in the Spanish city yesterday afternoon when a van mowed down innocent pedestrians, killing 14 and injuring more than 100 others.

Terrified, she ran away from the windows of Urban Outfitters before lying on the floor inside the shop, as emergency services rushed to the scene of the horror smash.

Related video - Attack witness: 'People were running all over' (Sky News) 


She later made it back to her hostel, where she reflected on the "unbelievable afternoon".

Shockingly, it was the third time in less than three months that Julia, from Melbourne, Australia, had been caught up in a terror attack - and escaped with her life. 

The young woman was one of hundreds of people put in lockdown on the London Underground during the London Bridge terror attack on June 3. 

During that incident, attackers smashed a van into pedestrians before knifing innocent people in nearby Borough Market, killing a total of eight people.

Days after the attack, Julia was in Notre Dame in Paris, France, when a suspected terrorist armed with a hammer attacked a police officer outside the cathedral.

But speaking to 3AW's Neil Mitchell from Barcelona, she bravely said: "I don’t feel like I want to go home. I feel like I want to stay here and not let them – whoever they may be – win. I’m going to see what I came here to see."

She also described how shoppers initially believed the Barcelona terror attack was a car accident - before realising it was "much more serious" when people started running.

As she lay on the floor of the shop, pedestrians fled for their lives outside.

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Taking to Twitter as the incident unfolded, Julia wrote: "Something is happening in #Barcelona. Complete and utter chaos. Currently in lockdown in an Urban Outfitters.

"People running, crying."

Shortly after, she posted: "Different stories filtering through about a car plowing through crowds and shots being fired. Still lying on the floor in the shopping mall."

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She later wrote: "Genuinely terrifying experience. One minute I'm shopping for tshirts, the next I'm running to get away from the windows #barcelona."

Her final post was made back at the hostel. She told her followers: "Finally back to our hostel after a unbelievable afternoon. Stay safe #Barcelona."

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Spain mounted a sweeping anti-terrorism operation yesterday after the van tore through the Las Ramblas district, packed with shoppers and holidaymakers.

The speeding vehicle careered into terrified pedestrians in the area's busy tree-lined promenade, leaving bodies scattered across the ground.

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty

Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "sickened" by the attack, while the Foreign Office is currently trying to determine whether there are any British victims.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadly rampage. The initial death toll was reported as 13, but this has since risen to 14, Catalonian authorities said.

Security forces have launched a hunt for the van's driver, who was seen escaping on foot.

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Hours after the van attack, in the early hours of today, police said they killed five attackers in Cambrils, a town south of Barcelona, to thwart a separate attack using explosive belts.

Details of the incident, which officers linked to the earlier attack, were still sketchy.

But police said six civilians and an officer were injured when the attackers ran them over in a car, before police shot them dead and carried out controlled explosions.

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Authorities later said the explosive belts were fake.

Shortly before midnight on Wednesday, the day before the van ploughed into pedestrians, one person was killed in an explosion in a house in a separate town southwest of Barcelona, police said.

They added that they had arrested a Moroccan and a man from Spain's north African enclave of Melilla, though neither of them was the van driver.

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A third man was arrested in the town of Ripoll today.

A judicial source said investigators believed a cell of at least eight people, possibly 12, may have been involved in the Barcelona attack and Cambrils plot.

The source said that it was planning to use gas canisters.

Witnesses to the van attack had earlier described how the vehicle zigzagged at high speed down Las Ramblas, ramming pedestrians and cyclists, leaving bodies strewn in its wake.

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Dog walkers and curious tourists have since reclaimed the street, along with media crews, despite the driver still being at large. Some areas remained cordoned off by police today.

"Those that live here can't believe it, because we live here, we walk here, this is our neighbourhood," Sebastiano Palumbo, 47, told Reuters as he walked his dog. 

The Italian architect, who is working in Barcelona, added: "I think the best thing would be to continue, every day, doing what do."

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The injured and dead came from 34 different countries, officials said today, ranging from France and Germany to Pakistan and the Philippines.

Spanish media said several children were killed.

ISIS's Amaq news agency said: "The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states" - a reference to a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.

Spain has several hundred soldiers in Iraq providing training to local forces in the fight against Islamic State, but they are not involved in ground operations.

Video - Timeline: European terror attacks since 2015 (PA) 


The Islamic State claim could not immediately be verified.

Yesterday's incidents took place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe's top travel destinations, with at least 11 million visitors a year.

French President Emmanuel Macron, whose nation has suffered some of Europe's deadliest militant attacks in recent years, tweeted of the van attack: "All my thoughts and France's solidarity to the victims of the tragic attack in Barcelona."

Authorities in Vic, a small town outside Barcelona, said a van had been found there in connection with the attack. Spanish media had earlier reported that a second van had been hired as a getaway vehicle.


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