(Corrects quote from police chief in and paragraph 4, second bullet point and first paragraph due to a translation issue; adds new paragraph 5 to clarify)
* Man launched knife attack in police station near Barcelona
* Shouted “Allah” - police chief
* Attacker shot dead at scene
MADRID, Aug 20 (Reuters) - A man, wielding a knife and saying the word “Allah” lunged at an officer in a police station near Barcelona, Spain, on Monday in what police said was a terrorist act, and was shot dead.
Police said the man entered the station in Cornella, in the northeastern region of Catalonia, shortly before 0400 GMT, seeking information.
He then leapt towards an officer, brandishing a large knife they said. The attacker, identified only as living in Cornella, was shot dead.
“The officer can only remember that he used the word Allah, the other words were incomprehensible,” regional investigating police chief Rafel Comas told a news conference. “On this evidence, for the moment, we are treating it as a terrorist attack.”
A translation of the televised news conference into Spanish from Catalan had previously indicated Comas quoted the attacker as saying “Allah is great”. The Arabic version of this phrase - “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) - has often been used by jihadist attackers.
The attacker “wanted to die himself”, police added on Twitter. Comas did not confirm Spanish media reports that he was a 29-year-old Algerian, saying only that he had been in the country “for years”.
There was no evidence linking the attack with any terrorist cell, Comas said, adding that Spain would maintain its security alert at level 4, one notch below the maximum level which signals an attack is imminent.
Last Friday, Barcelona commemorated the first anniversary of an Islamist assault in which a young man drove a van down a busy central boulevard, killing 14 people and injuring over 100 in Spain’s worst attack in more than a decade.
Separately on Monday, three people were injured when a car mounted a pavement in the northern town of Casetas, in what a government spokeswoman later said was being treated as an accident.
The two occupants of the car fled the scene and were later detained. (Reporting by Isla Binnie, additional reporting by Rodrigo de Miguel and Carlos Ruano; Editing by Richard Balmforth)