Barcelona Terror Attack: Police Confirm Deaths After Van Hits Crowd in Busy Las Ramblas Area

Barcelona Terror Attack: Police Confirm Deaths After Van Hits Crowd in Busy Las Ramblas Area

At least one person has died and dozens have been injured after a white van ploughed into a crowd of people in Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, in what Catalan police say is a potentially ongoing terrorist attack. Death tolls from the attack on an area popular with tourists vary considerably.

While the authorities have confirmed a single death and said 32 are injured, Spanish radio said as many as 13 had died. Two armed men were also reported to have entered a restaurant near the site of the crash and witnesses said the men had taken hostages, though that was not confirmed by authorities.

Police are due to hold a press conference on the latest developments. Police say they have activated the protocols for a terror attack. The El Pais newspaper reported that the driver of the vehicle had fled on foot and that police are still looking for a man about 1.70 metres tall, wearing a white and blue stripped shirt. The van entered the pedestrian street from Placa de Catalunya and reportedly zigzagged across the street before crashing into a kiosk on La Rambla.

Emergency services are urging people to avoid the area and requested the closure of nearby train and metro stations. Ambulances and bomb disposal crews have gathered en masse at the scene. Ethan Spidey, 25, told The Independent there was a “stampede” as tourists and locals sprinted away from the scene of the attack.

He said: “I was with my boyfriend just about to cross Las Ramblas and all of a sudden there was an immediate stampede and police shouting at people to run. “I saw a young child knocked over and picked them up but everyone was just running. “There was a stampede in the streets alongside Las Ramblas as everyone tried to run away.People were running into shops and taking refuge in cafes.

There was a lot of screaming." Daniela Goicoechea, who was walking along La Rambla with three children aged one, two and five, told The Independent: "People started running but we didn't know what was happening. There was a lot of people running. Then policemen began chasing people. We were lost, we ran with three babies and hid in a cafe nearby."

Videos posted on social media shows dozens of people, seemingly injured, lying on the floor being cared for by emergency services. Hospitals in Barcelona have called for blood donations following the attack to avoid potential shortages.

Aamer Anwar was walking down Las Ramblas at the time, which he said was "jam-packed" with tourists. He told Sky News: "All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids. "Police were very, very quickly there, police officers with guns, batons, everywhere. Then the whole street started getting pushed back.

Injured people react after a van crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona, Spain, 17 August 2017. According to initial reports a van crashed into a crowd in Barcelona's famous Placa Catalunya square at Las Ramblas area injuring several. Local media report the van driver ran away, metro and train stations were closed. The number of people injured and the reasons behind the incident are not yet known. Official sources have not confirmed that the incident is a terrorist attack.

Mossos d'Esquadra Police officers attend injured people after a van crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona, Spain, 17 August 2017. According to initial reports a van crashed into a crowd in Barcelona's famous Placa Catalunya square at Las Ramblas area injuring several. Local media report the van driver ran away, metro and train stations were closed. The number of people injured and the reasons behind the incident are not yet known. Official sources have not confirmed that the incident is a terrorist attack.

Mossos d'Esquadra Police officers and emergency service workers move an injured man, after a van crashes into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona, Spain, 17 August 2017. According to initial reports a van crashed into a crowd in Barcelona's famous Placa Catalunya square at Las Ramblas area injuring several. Local media report the van driver ran away, metro and train stations were closed. The number of people injured and the reasons behind the incident are not yet known. Official sources have not confirmed that the incident is a terrorist attack.

Children, some in tears, are escorted down a road in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in Barcelona say a white van has mounted a sidewalk, struck several people in the city's Las Ramblas district.

A policemen stand as he blocks the street to a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona

Plain-clothes policemen phone as they walk past police cars in a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona

Firefighters stands outside an evacuated mall after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona

A policeman stands next to an ambulance after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona[/caption] A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are in contact with the Spanish authorities and seeking more information following an incident in Barcelona. "Anyone in the area should follow the advice of the emergency services." Mayor of London Sadiq Khan described the events as "a barbaric terrorist attack" and said London stood in solidarity with Barcelona. He tweeted: "My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services. "London stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism." Pictures of the van show a white vehicle with the logo of the rental company Telefurgo on its side. Spanish media have named the man who hired the van as Driss Oukabir. He reportedly rented the vehicle from the nearby town of Santa Perpetua de la Mogada.

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.

There have been no previous terror attacks claimed by Isis in Spain, where almost 200 people were killed by al-Qaeda inspired terrorists in the Madrid bombings in 2004.

Spanish police have arrested several suspected Isis supporters in recent years, including a suspected recruiter detained on Mallorca who was accused of inciting terror attacks.

The terrorist group has issued repeated calls for followers to attack "disbelievers" in the West, including detailed guidance on how to carry out vehicle attacks in high-profile public places.

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are those of the writers and do not reflect those of Capitalbay. Capitalbay accepts no responsibility legal or otherwise for their accuracy of content. Please report any inappropriate content to us, and we will evaluate it as a matter of priority.
What's next
By Coby Forster 08/17/2017 14:07:00