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Barcelona terror attack raises concerns across Tennessee

(FILE)

The terror attack in Barcelona is raising concerns across Tennessee Thursday as thousands will gather in the mid-state to watch the solar eclipse next week.

Attacks like Thursday's in Barcelona are one of many possible threats on law enforcement's mind.

Vanderbilt law professor and terrorism expert, Mike Newton isn't surprised by the deadly attack in Barcelona.

"There have been a number of those attacks around the world in London all across Europe really," Newton said. "The most notable being Nice, France, in July 2017. Now you've seen domestic grievances and domestic groups using some of the same sorts of tactics."

James Alex Fields is accused of driving his car into a crowd of counter protesters at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, killing Heather Heyer and injuring several others.

Professor Newton said it's a tactic ISIS called for as early as 2010.

"If you can't find other weapons bombs etc., mow them down is the terminology ISIS used in describing these types of attacks," Newton said. "Mow down the enemies of ISIS."

Cities like Nashville take precautions during large-scale events.

In May, police blocked off streets and checked bags using bomb sniffing dogs to protect hockey fans at playoff viewing parties and thousands attending the CMA Music Festival.

Officers are preparing for another large crowd to view the total solar eclipse on Monday.

Experts said both police and the public have watch for suspicious activity to keep cities safe.

"People do need to be vigilant, but there's no way to predict," Newton said.

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