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Barcelona's Sagrada Família cathedral was evacuated due to a 'false alarm' bomb scare

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Updated September 12, 2017 10:13 PM EDT

Police in Barcelona said a "false alarm" prompted the evacuation of the landmark Sagrada Familia basilica Tuesday evening.

A Mossos d'Esquadra regional police spokesman said a bomb squad searched the van that prompted the evacuation and found no trace of explosives.

Police have evacuated an iconic cathedral in Barcelona as part of an anti-terrorism operation.

A spokesman with the Mossos d'Esquadra regional police said several streets surrounding the Sagrada Familia cathedral have been cordoned off while explosive experts search a van near the landmark.

"If you live near Sagrda Familia, do not leave your home," the Catalan police service tweeted Tuesday. "Stay calm and follow official information. We are working to restore normality."

Barcelona is a popular tourism hub in the Spain's Catalonia region. Last month, Barcelona and a nearby coastal town were targets of an extremist attacks that killed 16 people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for that attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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