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Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cordoned off by Catalan police in anti-terror operation

Catalan police said a bomb scare near Barcelona's landmark Sagrada Familia church was a false alarm. They had earlier cordoned off the cathedral and nearby businesses.

Spanien Barcelona Sagrada Familia (picture-alliance/dpa/A. Warnecke)

An archive image of the Sagrada Familia, taken in March 2017

An hour after alerting the public that they had cordoned off and evacuated the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Catalonia's Mossos police force wrote on Twitter that a bomb scare turned out to be a false alarm. The police deployed a bomb squad to search a suspicious van near the iconic building, but did not find any explosives. 

Earlier, police evacuated hundreds of visitors and employees around the church and asked people to avoid the area after seeing two people in the van.

The unfinished church, designed by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, is a major drawcard for millions visitors to Barcelona, in the northeastern Catalonia region of Spain, each year.

Last month, terror attacks on the Las Ramblas tourist boulevard in Barcelona and a nearby coastal town killed 16 people. The suspects allegedly intended to use explosives, but decided to use a van after an explosion on their hideout. Spain terror warning level is currently at the stage 4 of the 5-degree scale.

Watch video 04:34

Famous European landmark: Sagrada Familia

se/rc (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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