BOSTON (WPRI) — Travelers are on high alert after Thursday’s deadly terror attack in Barcelona, but an Eyewitness News analyst says people shouldn’t let it affect their vacation plans.
Tragedy struck Spain’s second-largest city Thursday as a van drove through a busy pedestrian zone, mowing down tourists and residents. Thirteen people were killed while another 100 were injured in the attack, for which the Islamic State group claimed responsibility.
Eyewitness News on Thursday checked with Rhode Island’s colleges and universities, all of which said they have no students currently in Barcelona.
A spokesperson for AAA said it has several clients preparing to travel to the city in the near future, though there haven’t been many cancellations or postponements as a result of the attack.
“We should feel safe,” Eyewitness News analyst Lt. Gen. Reginald Centracchio said. “Not overly confident, but certainly safe.”
Centracchio said the U.S. already has security measures in place, with intelligence working around the clock to prevent any sort of attack at home. He added, though, that the responsibility also falls on the individual.
“Know where the exits are, know that if something happened you’d be able to get out of the midst of a crowd,” Centracchio said. “Be aware of your surroundings, don’t put yourself in a position where you can’t make an exit, and just enjoy life the best you can.”
Centracchio advised to heed any travel warnings issued by the State Department but also said it’s important not to live in fear.
“We’re Americans, we’re free, we want to enjoy life and we want to continue to do that because if we stop that then we will have lost the battle against terrorism,” he said.
Centracchio said he doesn’t believe there’s any imminent danger to the United States but the events in Barcelona serve as a good warning.
There were no direct flights to Barcelona out of Logan Airport on Friday but the transportation hub was filled with international travelers, including a woman who just returned from a five-week trip to Spain.
Cape Cod resident Savannah Moynihan said she didn’t find out about Thursday’s attack until she landed back in the U.S.
“I guess I feel really lucky, really blessed that my timing worked out,” she said. “Five weeks in Spain and here I am, okay.”
It was just three weeks ago that Moynihan was in Barcelona, an area she said was packed with tourists.
“There’s a lot of people walking on the streets and everyone is kind of lost in their maps and trying to figure out where they’re going,” she recalled. “So I don’t think they would be too aware of a car coming through.”
CONTACT US: If you or someone you know is in Barcelona, email ReportIt@wpri.com
Moynihan said she did worry about terrorism before she left and twice thought about attending concerts that would draw a large crowd, but this latest attack reminded her that nowhere is truly safe.
“We live in a scary world,” she said.
Youssef Bahra of Lincoln, who was waiting at Logan for his wife to arrive from Dubai, agreed.
“Especially being Muslim,” he said. “Because we are the most victim than any other people.”
Bahra said there’s always concern, but he won’t let terrorists control his life.
“Those people, they’re not going to stop me from being me,” he added. “There’s always going to be problems in the world but none of those people are going to stop us from living free.”