Muslim Woman in Hijab Attacked by Madrid Mob in Possible Hate Crime Following Barcelona Attack

Muslim woman Barcelona
A woman embraces a Muslim resident of Barcelona holding a placard reading "We are against any injustice" as they demonstrate on the Las Ramblas boulevard in Barcelona, to protest against terrorism and in tribute to the victims of the Barcelona attack on August 19. LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty

A group of young men attacked a Muslim woman wearing a hijab in Spain's capital Madrid on Wednesday, in what police think may be motivated by the Islamist-inspired attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils.

The woman, who was in her twenties, was assaulted in the Usera district in the south of the Spanish capital, El Mundo reported.

Three unknown assailants attacked and insulted the woman, who was reportedly left with bruises and a mild concussion. She was treated at the scene and was later taken to hospital.

The municipal police's diversity management unit, which specializes in hate crimes, has taken over the investigation into the case.

The incident comes a week after two attacks in Catalonia killed a total of 15 people. Younes Abouyaaqoub, a 22-year-old who was born in Morocco and lived in the Catalonian city of Ripoll, drove a van into civilians on the popular Barcelona tourist street of Las Ramblas on August 17, killing 13 people.

Another man was later stabbed in a carjacking linked to Abouyaaqoub's attempt to escape; the attacker was shot dead by police on August 21.

Later the same day, a group of five attackers drove a car into pedestrians in the seaside resort of Cambrils, 62 miles down the coast from Barcelona. One woman was killed and police shot dead the attackers.

The Islamic State militant group (ISIS) claimed responsibility for both attacks. The attacks were the first in Spain to be claimed by ISIS and the deadliest militant attacks since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 191 people and were perpetrated by Al-Qaeda.

Spanish police have stepped up surveillance in major mosques in Madrid following the latest attacks.

There has already been some backlash against Muslims in Spain following the Catalonia attacks. A Seville mosque was daubed with anti-Muslim graffiti that included threats to behead Muslims with machetes, while a mosque in Granada was attacked with flares on Saturday by a group of people chanting xenophobic statements.

Just under 2 million Muslims live in Spain, making up around 4 percent of the total population.