Barcelona's Sagrada Familia evacuated as bomb squad examine suspicious van

Aerial view of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona
Credit Jason Hawkes

Aerial view of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Credit Jason Hawkes

Visitors in Barcelona are breathing a sigh of relief after a bomb scare at an iconic cathedral turns out to be a "false alarm".

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

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Regional Mossos d'Esquadra police tweeted in a message partly directed at those immediately affected: "We are making checks around the Sagrada Familia as part of an anti-terror operation and have cordoned off the area".

At least 16 victims and eight suspected Islamic terrorists died in a series of attacks through the region of Catalonia last month.

Later, another attack was carried out in the Spanish resort town of Cambrils, where at least one person was killed.

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The group changed plans after explosive material intended for the attack was destroyed in an accidental blast.

The Roman Catholic church was designed by Catalan artist Antoni Gaudí and is the most visited monument in Spain, with millions of visitors every year.

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