Yesterday, two men drove a van into a crowd in Barcelona, Spain and killed more than a dozen people and injured many more in what Spanish authorities are claiming is a terror attack. Spanish authorities may have also prevented another attack later in that day and believe these are linked to a recent explosion. Not all of the facts are public yet and we will learn more in the coming days, but Spain’s experience with terrorism can at least put what happened into perspective.
According to data from the Global Terrorism Database at the University of Maryland and the RAND Corporation, terrorists murdered 1,209 people in Spain from 1975 through the end of 2016 (Figure 1). The spike in deaths in 2004 was the result of a major al Qaeda attack on the Madrid subway system that murdered 192 people. Only the United Kingdom has suffered more from terrorism during that time with 2,359 total murders. There were also 4,738 injuries in terror attack in Spain during this 42-year time span.
Murders in Spanish Terrorist Attacks by Year, 1975-2016
Sources: Global Terrorist Database and RAND Corporation.