Barcelona's Sagrada Família evacuated as bomb squad investigates suspicious van


Catalan police have evacuated the iconic Sagrada Familia church in central Barcelona in an anti-terrorism operation, Reuters reports.

It was reported earlier today that Catalan police were on high alert following a warning via the Spanish intelligence centre CITCO that five jihadists were intending to attack Europe.

Specialist bomb disposal experts have been sent to the area, reportedly to investigate a suspicious package inside a van parked close to the church.

Police tweeted that they have cordoned off the Sagrada Familia and asked people to avoid the area while the operation is carried out. No arrests were made, they added.

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The Sagrada Familia is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of Europe's most popular tourist destinations.

Police had closed a nearby metro station while they inspected the van and closed several nearby streets.

Last month, 13 people were killed when an Islamist militant drove a van into pedestrians in the city.