A white, rented van plowed into a busy street in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district. Barcelona police called it a terror attack and local media reported 13 dead and 100 injured. Witnesses saying the van zigzagged down one of Barcelona’s busiest tourist avenues, Las Ramblas, mowing down pedestrians and leaving bodies strewn across the ground. The incident took place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe’s top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year.
Social network footage showed numerous bodies strewn along the Ramblas, some motionless. Paramedics and bystanders bent over them, treating them.
Police said they had arrested a man linked to the attack in the heart of the city, but did not identify him or describe his role. Earlier police were searching for the van’s driver who, according to local media, fled the scene on foot. Another suspect was killed in a shootout with the police. A second man has also been arrested. One is a Spanish national and one is Moroccan.
Neither of the two arrested men was the driver according to police.
Earlier Spanish media had reported that two armed men were holed up in a bar in downtown Barcelona, and reported gunfire in the area, However, police later dismissed those reports.
The Islamic State’s Amaq news agency claims that the attack was carried out by “soldiers of the Islamic State” in response to calls to target citizens of countries “belonging to the coalition.”
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Update 14: According to a senior police official, the 2 suspects in custody in Barcelona van attack are a Spanish national and a Moroccan named Driss Oukabir. Additionally, the police adds that neither of the detained suspects in Barcelona van attack was the driver.
Separately, according to press reports, Interpol warned Spanish police two months ago that Las Ramblas in particular was a terror target, reports said.