Barcelona Attack: At Least 1 Dead, 32 Injured After Terror Attack On City Centre

Authorities say at least one person is dead and another 32 injured in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday after a van deliberately plowed into a popular tourist area in the city’s Las Ramblas district.

Police said they are treating the incident as a terror attack.

Catalan police said 10 of the 32 people injured are in serious condition after the white van mounted a curb, striking several people. Video shows the white van mounted on a walkway with heavy damage to the front bumper.

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Spain’s El Periodico newspaper reported that two armed men were holed up in a bar in the city centre, and reported gunfire in the area following the van crash.

It was not immediately clear whether the incidents were connected.

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Authorities have yet to confirm gunfire in the area.

Photos on social media show several people on the ground as emergency services arrive.

Police cordoned off the broad, popular street, ordering stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services.

Speaking with Sky News, a witnessed described the panicked scene as many tried to take shelter in local stores.

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“All of a sudden it was real kind of chaos… people just started running screaming,” Ethan Spibey told the news station. “There was kind of a mini stampede. It seems like a lot of people have taken refuge in shops and local cafes.”

Speaking with Reuters, a witness described the aftermath as “complete panic.”

“It’s been complete confusion. Police had ordered us to close the restaurants, all of our terraces have been evacuated, people are panicking,” the woman said. “People are really scared inside the shops, we have closed all the shops and the doors are bolted and no one can get out. It’s complete panic. We don’t know anything, we don’t know what’s happened.”

Mid-August is the height of the tourist season in Barcelona and one of Europe’s top travel destinations, according to Reuters, with over 10 million visitors each year.

AP Photo/Oriol Duran
AP Photo/Oriol Duran

Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March and four men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge and rampaged with knives nearby, killing eight in June.

A man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.

Read celebrity reactions to the attack below.

-with a file from the Associated Press

 

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