An aerial shot of Barcelona city overlooking Park Guell, one of the major works of Antoni Gaudí that opened in 1926. Image Credit: Supplied picture

Dubai: The UAE Consulate in Barcelona has warned travellers to be on high alert if they intend to celebrate the New Year in Spain.

In a series of tweets, the UAE mission urged tourists and residents in the city of Barcelona to exercise caution, avoid tourist attractions and not to participate in gatherings during the festive season.

It also cautioned travellers to follow all instructions as and when they are issued by the relevant authorities in Barcelona.

“Travellers should please register for the online ‘Twajudi’ service, found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. In the event of an emergency, contact the UAE mission on following numbers: +34 932 408 550, +34 669 444 444 or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on +971 800 444 44.”

The alert was issued after the US State Department announced a security alert to its citizens on December 23, telling them to exercise “heightened caution” if they are in Barcelona because of the potential for a terrorist attack in the popular area of Las Ramblas during Christmas and New Year’s.

“Exercise heightened caution around areas of vehicle movement, including buses, in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona during Christmas and New Year’s. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, and other public areas,” warned the US State Department.

Spain’s El Pais newspaper said that as a result of the information that they have received, the Catalan police are now looking for a man who has been identified as B. L., 30, from Casablanca, Morocco.

“This man is in possession of a bus driver’s license and he has a police record in Spain for insulting a member of the Civil Guard at Malaga airport in 2006,” said the Spanish daily.

US travel advisory

On its website, the US Consulate General in Barcelona reminded citizens that Spain is currently at a Level 2 Travel Advisory, which means that residents should exercise increased caution.

The consulate also provided guidelines on what actions to take in the lead up to the New Year’s celebrations, including:

  • Avoid the area of Las Ramblas
  • Exercise additional vigilance at holiday festivals and events.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Stay alert in public places, including at churches, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, and on public and private transportation.
  • Follow instructions and view updates from police and government authorities.
  • Review your personal security plans.
  • Monitor local media for updates.
  • Know how to use the local phone system. Dial “112” to reach emergency services throughout Spain. There is always an English-speaker on duty.