At least ten women were attacked at Barcelona metro station

At least ten women were attacked at Barcelona metro station

At least ten women were attacked at a Barcelona metro station by a man believed to have targeted them because of their gender, police have said, as investigators are probing the vile assaults as a possible hate crime.

It was initially thought the aggressor, a 30-year-old Moroccan man, could have been acting under the influence of drink and drugs when he assaulted the women in a spree of violent attacks.

He was filmed punching one of his unsuspecting victims in the face and slamming her to the floor as she listened to music on headphones and looked at her mobile, leaving her with a perforated eardrum.

Now it has emerged a police unit specialising in tackling hate crimes is leading the ongoing probe after officers studied CCTV footage.

They have concluded the man appeared to have targeted only women and may have picked them out randomly because of their gender.

Six of the women, including the one punched in the face in the most savage assault, were attacked as they waited on the platform at Camp de l'Arpa station on line five of the Barcelona metro.

The attacker hit his last victim so hard he also lost his balance and tumbled as she fell to the ground.

Police are understood to have gathered evidence pointing to at least four more assaults.

The unnamed detainee is said to have previously committed a number of thefts, although he appeared to be making no attempt to steal anything from the women he assaulted on Friday morning.