A driver deliberately ploughed a van into pedestrians on one of Spain’s busiest streets on Thursday, wounding a number of people in what police said was a “terrorist attack”.
“Huge collision on Las Ramblas in Barcelona by an individual driving a van, many injuries,” a statement from Catalan police said.
The area around the incident was cordoned off, with several ambulances and police vehicles on the scene, an AFP correspondent said.
Police in Barcelona, Spain’s second-largest city, told crowds fleeing the scene by megaphone that they were dealing with a “terrorist attack”.
The famous Las Ramblas boulevard is one of Barcelona’s busiest streets, normally thronged with tourists and street performers until well into the night.
Spain has so far been spared the kind of extremist violence that has occurred in nearby France, Belgium and Germany.
But it was hit by what is still Europe’s deadliest jihadist attack in March 2004, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired extremists.
Vehicles have been used in several terror attacks in Europe in recent years, including a jihadist massacre that claimed 86 lives in the French Riviera city of Nice.
That onslaught in July last year and other similar attacks were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.
In July 2015, a hooded attacker opened fire outside a hotel in downtown Barcelona near Las Ramblas, leaving two people injured, police said.
One person was struck by bullets while the other was hurt as they tried to flee the shooter, who fled the scene. No suspected motive for the attack was given.Spain has emerged as a potential target for jihadists, with extremist websites mentioning it for historical reasons, since much of its territory was once under Muslim rule.
Generally, authorities in Spain—the world’s third largest tourism destination—remain discreet on the terror threat.
But they publicise every arrest of alleged jihadists, most of them detained for propaganda, recruitment for extremist groups or “glorifying terrorism.”
According to the interior ministry, more than 180 “jihadist terrorists” have been arrested since June 2015 when Spain raised the terror alert level to four out of a maximum of five, in domestic and foreign operations.
More details awaited.
#1:17AM: ISIS claims responsibility for van attack in Barcelona through its Amaq news agency
#12:22 AM: At least 13 people were killed and over 50 injured today when a driver ploughed a van into pedestrians on a busy street in Barcelona popular with tourists, the region's interior minister said. "We can confirm there are 13 dead and more than 50 injured," Joaquim Forn tweeted.
#11:45 PM: I am in constant touch with Indian Embassy in Spain. As of now, there is no report of any Indian casualty:EAM Swaraj
#11:11 PM: Police have found second van connected to Barcelona attack in Catalan town of Vic - local authorities
#11:08 PM: Reports suggest one suspect arrested by Barcelona Police
Police identify one of Barcelona terrorists as Driss Oukabir. pic.twitter.com/KZ83U8IE6I— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) August 17, 2017
#10:45 PM: Police confirms death of 1 victim; 32 injured, 10 seriously
#10:38 PM: Barcelona terror attack: local media says up to 13 dead, reports AP
#10:04 PM: Suspect holed up in bar after Barcelona van attack: police
#10:03 PM: At least two dead in Barcelona 'terror attack': regional government source
#10:02 PM: Local media reports that Police has ordered stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close
#9:58 PM: Catalan police have confirmed there are dead and injured victims after van crashed into a group of people in Las Ramblas area of Barcelona
#9:45 PM: Twitterattis request people not to share graphic footage of victims, many reqesut site to take it down.
#9:40 PM: Videos from the site show graphic scenes oif injured bodies lying on the footpath
#9:33 PM: Barcelona police tell people to stay where they are until told otherwise
#9:25 PM: 2 armed men enter reportedly enter restaurant: Local media