At least 13 dead and 80 injured in Barcelona terrorist attack
Two people have been arrested in connection with the incident
At least 13 people are dead and 80 have been injured after a van crashed into the crowds in la Rambla, in the city center of Barcelona, in what police described as a terrorist attack. The Catalan government confirmed the victims toll in a press conference. A second van linked to the attack has been found in the town of Vic, in central Catalonia. The vehicle may have been used by some of the terrorists to flee the scene of the attack.
Police denied earlier reports of a man holding hostages in the center of Barcelona. "There is no one entrenched itself in any bar", the Catalan police, Mossos d'Esquadra, tweeted. Police have arrested two men in relation to the attacks.
Authorities have recommend to people in the city of Barcelona to stay indoors and avoid all displacements that are not strictly necessary.
The attack, in a very tourist area in the heart of Barcelona, happened at around 5 pm. A vehicle, a white Fiat van, drove at a high speed along the Rambla pedestrian area, which is usually very crowded. The van plowed through crowds and caused scenes of chaos and panic. People fled the scene for cover and many seek protection in the nearby shops.
The terrorist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, as reported by its news agency, Amaq. "The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states," said Amaq.
Isis terrorists have committed similar van attacks in several European cities in the last year, including Nice, London, Stockholm, Paris and Berlin.
“I heard someone screaming, and then it was an absolute pandemonium everywhere”
Dole Allman · Witness
La Rambla, in the heart of Barcelona, full of people at 5 pm, when the attack happened. “It was a complete chaos,” said French tourist Nowedine Moussaoui, who witnessed the terrorist attack in La Rambla. He was shopping with his children when he saw the vehicle of the attack. “I saw a big car, the color was white, and the driver then accelerated and drived over people. And afterwards I wanted to go and help people, but I couldn’t… Because it’s a surprise, you know? You don’t think of anything. You want to help people, but you can’t,” he said.
Another tourist, Dole Allman, from the United Kingdom, witnessed the attack from a rooftop in a hotel next to La Rambla. “I heard someone screaming, and then it was an absolute pandemonium everywhere,” he said. Allman recalled seeing police officers carrying children in the midst of an absolute chaos. “We also saw someone who got shocked by the post shop,” he said.