BARCELONA – Police said on Tuesday that a search of a van parked near the northeastern Spanish city of Barcelona’s iconic La Sagrada Familia cathedral found nothing suspicious and that the operation turned out to be a false alarm.
Police said they evacuated the cathedral as well as neighboring business establishments in an area that is usually packed with tourists.
Metro trains suspended stops in the affected area and several streets were closed while the police bomb squad inspected the vehicle.
The Mossos d’Esquadra, as the Catalan police are known, said there was no connection between the van and the checkpoints they were operating throughout the day on a major highway leading into Barcelona.
The checkpoints were part of normal procedures under the current Level 4 terrorism alert, authorities said.
Nearly a score of people were killed last month in a pair of Islamic State terrorist attacks in Barcelona and the Catalan coastal city of Cambrils.
While five members of the IS cell were killed in clashes with police, the militants captured alive told police that the original plan had called for using vehicle-bombs to strike Barcelona landmarks, including La Sagrada Familia.