FOLLOWING DEADLY BARCELONA TERROR ATTACK, ISRAELI LEADERS OFFER CONDOLENCES, EXPRESS SOLIDARITY

Israeli leaders offered condolences and expressed solidarity with the Spanish people following a deadly terror attack in Barcelona, Spain Thursday that killed at least 13 dead and more than 80 injured.

 Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack where at least two men drove a van into a crowd of pedestrians in a popular tourist area in Barcelona.

 According to Spain’s El Pais newspaper, a Spanish passport was found inside the van used in the attack and that Spain’s Civil Guard said the van had been rented by a man named Driss Oukaibir.

 The attack occurred in the vicinity of the Maccabi kosher restaurant in Barcelona, which is located across from the city’s old Jewish quarter. However, Barcelona’s chief rabbi, Meir Bar-Hen, told Israel’s Channel 2 that the terror attack did not target Jews, but he said he still planned to cancel all community activities.

 "Israel strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Barcelona,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “On behalf of the citizens of Israel, I send condolences to the families of those who were killed and wishes for a quick recovery to the injured.  This evening we again saw that terror strikes everywhere; the civilized world must fight it together in order to defeat it."

 Israel’s Education Minister and Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett, who also holds the diaspora affairs ministry, said in a statement he spoke to the head of the Spanish Jewish community and offered his “condolences and prayers” for the wounded, while also condemning Islamic terrorism.

 “At times like this it is important to understand Islamic terror is attacking the values of freedom and democracy, in Barcelona, London, Paris and Jerusalem,” Bennett said.

 Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon also sent his condolences to the terror victims, saying that “Israel stands by the side of the people of Spain as we pledge to fight all those who seek to harm the free world.”

The European Jewish Congress also condemned the Barcelona attack and offered solidarity with the Spanish people.

 “We are yet again witness to another terrorist attack in Europe perpetrated against innocent civilians,” said Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the EJC. “We stand with the Spanish people and urge the authorities to bring to justice those who perpetrated this savage attack, including those who inspired it and those whose incitement encouraged it.”