BARCELONA, Spain- El Pais reports that during a terrorist attack, a van drove into pedestrians on the crowded La Rambla de Barcelona promenade in the northeastern Spanish city that is the capital of the region of Catalonia on Thursday afternoon.
Catalan Interior Minister Joaquim Forn confirmed 13 people died in the attack on the street popular with tourists. At least 50 others have been injured, Forn confirmed in a tweet.
One witness said the van ran people over “while they were crossing at traffic lights.”The van used in the attack was rented by a man the Civil Guard have identified as Driss Oukabir in the small town of Santa Perpetua de Mogoda, some 25 kilometers north of Barcelona. He has now been arrested, according to Catalonia’s Mossos d’Esquadra regional police force.Regional police have also located a second van thought to have a possible link to the attack in the town of Vic, some 60 kilometers north of Barcelona, Vic Mayor Anna Erra has said, according to Spanish news agency EFE.
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Natalia Bravo, a witness at the Aromas de Istambul Turkish restaurant, located at number 129 la Rambla, where one of the men responsible for the attack is reportedly holed up, said: “If there is anybody, he’s inside.” Bravo says that some 20 people left the restaurant around 6.30pm, most of them women and children. She says she saw about 20 police officers enter the premises, but she had not seen any detainees yet.
La Rambla de Barcelona promenade street has now been cordoned off, as have surrounding streets, while establishments in the center of the city have been evacuated. Public transport in the center of the city has been closed down, El Pais explained.
Police in Barcelona have asked people around Plaça Catalunya to stay indoors. They have urged those concerned about friends and family to use social media, rather than cellphone calls, to get in touch with friends and relatives to avoid overloading phone networks.
There were scenes of panic in the center of Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, with three stampedes reported after the suspected attack.
Carles Puigdemont and Ada Colau, the head of the regional government of Catalonia and the mayor of Barcelona respectively, have suspended their vacations in response to the incident, the report said.
— Rex Tillerson (@Secy_State_US) August 17, 2017