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Barcelona terror attack: 13 dead, 32 injured; one suspect arrested

The incident happened when a van ploughed into crowd in Barcelona's Las Ramblas avenue

Agencies  |  Barcelona 

Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district. Photo: AP | PTI
Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain on Thursday after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district. Photo: AP | PTI

At least 13 people were killed and 32 injured after a van ploughed into crowd in Barcelona's avenue in the city centre on Thursday, Cadena SER radio station reported, citing police sources. One man was arrested over the attack, the local police said. The suspect was identified as Driss Oukabir, according to AFP reports.

"The executors of the attack were soldiers of the Islamic State," the Amaq outlet said, quoted by SITE Intelligence Group.

In reaction to reports, Catalan Police said there is nobody held up in a bar in

Catalan police were negotiating with at least one armed perpetrator who was dug in at a Turkish restaurant, broadcaster RTVE had reported earlier.

A regional government source confirmed that the was a terror attack. Meanwhile, a second van linked to the attack in has been found in the small town of Vic in Catalonia, local authorities said on Twitter.

Police had cordoned off the area and were inspecting the vehicle, the city council said.

Spanish media earlier reported that a second van had been rented as a getaway car by attackers.

At least one person is confirmed to have died after a van mowed down pedestrians in Barcelona city centre and 32 people were injured, 10 of them seriously, Catalan police and the regional interior ministry said.

Barcelona city councilor said we can confirm that at least one dead and 32 injured from the

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said there is no report of any Indian casualty in the Barcelona terror attack.

The United States offered its assistance to Spain in the wake of the deadly in Barcelona's most popular street.

US President Donald Trump condemned Thursday's terrorist attack in Barcelona and said that the US stood ready to assist Spain, the media reported.

"The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!," Trump said on Twitter.

Trump's tweet followed brief public remarks by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson conveying the same sentiments, Efe news reported.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also said that consular assistance was being provided to Americans in the city, and urged US nationals to check in with their families.

"I'd like to start by acknowledging the incident in Barcelona, which has the hallmarks, it appears, of yet another terrorist attack," Tillerson said as he opened a joint news conference with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Japanese officials.

"Terrorists around the world should know -- the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice," Tillerson added.

Soon afterwards, Spain's El Periodico newspaperreported that two armed men were holed up in a bar in Barcelona's city centre, and said that there was gunfire in the area, although it did not cite the source of the information.

It was, however, not clear whether the incidents were connected.

After the van crash, Spanish Prime Minister said he is in contact with all the authorities, priority is to attend to the injured.

Catalan Police said on Twitter that they had activated the protocol for attacks after a van mowed down people in Barcelona's tourist area, though they added that the motive behind the crash was not yet clear. Later, the police said the act was being treated as a terrorist attack.

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city this afternoon, apparently being helped by police and

Police in Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, told crowds fleeing the scene by megaphone that they were dealing with a "terrorist attack".

Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.

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. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

Police officers tell members of the public to leave the scene in a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. Police in the northern Spanish city of Barcelona say a white van has jumped the sidewalk in the city's historic Las Ramblas distri
Police officers tell members of the public to leave the scene in a street in Barcelona. Photo: AP | PTI
Train and metro stations were closed in the area, according to local newspaper La Vanguardia.

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city's top tourist destinations.

Initially, police described the incident on Twitter as a "massive crash". 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.

El Pais newspaper said the driver of the vehicle had fled on foot after mowing down dozens of people.

Meanwhile, US stocks hit session lows and the dollar turned flat after the Barcelona report surfaced.

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.

First Published: Fri, August 18 2017. 04:15 IST