The attack on tourists in Barcelona followed a now familiar pattern and shows the indiscriminate nature of today’s terrorists

The apparent terrorist attack in Barcelona underlines three harsh lessons learned by security services – and the general public – over recent months and years.

The first is that the use of vehicles as weapons is now an established tactic by extremists, one of the dozen or so employed in the last two decades that should be considered a standard part of the terrorist arsenal. In the last 13 months there have been similar attacks in France, Germany, Sweden and the UK.

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