Tags: Barcelona terror attack | van | crowd | barcelona

13 Dead, 2 in Custody After Terrorist Van Rams Crowd in Barcelona Plaza

Image: 13 Dead, 2 in Custody After Terrorist Van Rams Crowd in Barcelona Plaza
(Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 17 Aug 2017 02:44 PM

Two suspects are under arrest in Spain after a terrorist deliberately crashed a white van into a crowd of people in the center of Barcelona Thursday, killing 13 and injuring at least 50.

State-owned broadcaster RTVE reported ay night that a man was detained a few hours after a van drove into crowds in the popular Las Ramblas district.

Regional interior chief Joaquim Forn confirmed the death toll.

A private Spanish news agency, Europa Press, reported that police had been looking for a man named Driss Oukabir. The news agency says he was suspected of having rented a van connected to the attack.

It wasn't clear if that person is one of the two who were arrested.

RTVE says investigators think two vans may have been used.

"Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise," Forn said in a news conference earlier.

Emergency services said people should not go to the area around the city's Placa Catalunya, and requested the closure of nearby train and metro stations. Police cordoned off the broad, popular street. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was in contact with authorities, and the priority was to attend to the injured.

A source familiar with the initial U.S. government assessment concurred in believing the incident appeared to be terrorism, and a White House spokeswoman said President Donald Trump was being kept abreast of the situation.

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.

Media reports said the van zigzagged at speed down Las Ramblas avenue, a magnet for tourists.

"I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that," eyewitness Tom Gueller told the BBC.

"It wasn't slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds in the middle of the Ramblas."

Witness Ethan Spibey told Britain's Sky News: "All of sudden it was real chaos. People just started running screaming, there were loud bangs. People just started running into shops, there was a kind of mini-stampede where we were, down one of the alleyways."

He said he had taken refuge with dozens of other people in a nearby church.

"They've locked the doors because I'm not sure whether the person who may have done it has actually been caught, so they've locked the doors and told people just to wait in here."

"We saw a white van collide with people. We saw people going flying because of the collision, we also saw three cyclists go flying," Ellen Vercamm, on holiday in Barcelona, told El Pais newspaper.

El Pais said the driver of the vehicle fled on foot.

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others. Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.

Twitter users shared videos and images of the pandemonium.

Mobile phone footage posted on Twitter showed several bodies strewn along the Ramblas, some motionless. Paramedics and bystanders bent over them, treating them and trying to comfort those still conscious.

Around them, the boulevard was deserted, covered in rubbish and abandoned objects including hats, bags and a pram.

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city's top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrianized path in the center of the street, but cars can travel on either side.

While full details of the incident were not immediately clear, since July 2016 vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in a series of militant attacks across Europe, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.

In recent weeks, threatening graffiti against tourists has appeared in Barcelona, which draws at least 11 million visitors a year.

In one video released under the slogan "tourism kills neighbourhoods," several hooded individuals stopped a tourist bus in Barcelona, slashed the tyres and spray-painted the windscreen.

This report contains material from Reuters and The Associated Press.

© 2017 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 
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One suspect is under arrest in Spain after a terrorist deliberately crashed a white van into a crowd of people in the center of Barcelona Thursday, killing 13 and injuring at least 50.
van, crowd, barcelona
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2017-44-17
Thursday, 17 Aug 2017 02:44 PM
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