Barcelona: A police officer shot dead a man armed with a knife as he tried to attack a police station in the northern Spanish region of Catalonia on Monday, in what police are treating as a “terrorist attack”.
Police said the man invoked the name of Allah during the assault, which came just days after the first anniversary of a twin attack in Catalonia that killed 16 people.
The man arrived at the closed police station in the town of Cornella de Llobregat near Barcelona at 5:45 am (0345 GMT) and repeatedly pressed the buzzer to be let in, Rafel Comes, a commissioner with the Catalan regional police, told a news conference.
After police allowed him in, the man pulled out a “large knife” and lunged at officers in “a clearly premeditated desire to kill an agent of our force,” Comes said.
“The officer used her gun to save her own life,” Comes said, adding that “we are treating it as a terrorist attack”.
The man shouted “Allah” as well as words the police officers did not understand, Comes said.
Anti-terrorism police sources had earlier said the man was a 29-year-old Algerian, but Comes said police still needed to confirm that the Algerian identity papers he carried with him were in fact act his.
Officers searched the man's home, which was located just a few hundred metres (yards) from the site of the attack.
Resident Conchi Garcia, a 50-year-old office worker, said the man suspected in the attack came to the neighbourhood two years ago, moving in with a single mother who had always lived in the area.
“She started wearing the veil overnight. It was strange,” Garcia said.