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Barcelona terror attack highlights: Van rams crowd, 13 dead, 50 injured, 1 suspect arrested

A number of people were injured when a van rammed into a crowd of pedestrians on Barcelona's iconic Las Ramblas on Thursday, police said.

FP Staff August 18, 2017 09:07:17 IST
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Barcelona terror attack highlights: Van rams crowd, 13 dead, 50 injured, 1 suspect arrested

Highlights

21:50 (ist)

Another terror attack by using vehicle hits Europe

Spain was hit by what is still Europe's deadliest jihadist attack in March 2004, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people in an attack claimed by Al Qaeda-inspired extremists.

Vehicles have been used in several terror attacks in Europe in recent years, including a jihadist massacre that claimed 86 lives in the French Riviera city of Nice.That onslaught in July last year and other similar attacks were claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group.  

In July 2015, a hooded attacker opened fire outside a hotel in downtown Barcelona near Las Ramblas, leaving two people injured, police said. One person was struck by bullets while the other was hurt as they tried to flee the shooter, who fled the scene. No suspected motive for the attack was given.

Spain has emerged as a potential target for jihadists, with extremist websites mentioning it for historical reasons, since much of its territory was once under Muslim rule.

Generally, authorities in Spain — the world's third largest tourism destination — remain discreet on the terror threat.

But they publicise every arrest of alleged jihadists, most of them detained for propaganda, recruitment for extremist groups or "glorifying terrorism."

According to the interior ministry, more than 180 "jihadist terrorists" have been arrested since June 2015 when Spain raised the terror alert level to four out of a maximum of five, in domestic and foreign operations. AFP

LIVE NEWS and UPDATES

Aug 17, 2017 - 23:08 (IST)

US comes to Spain's aid in moments of terror attack

Aug 17, 2017 - 23:01 (IST)

Eyewitness recounts moments of horror

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:56 (IST)

Police confirms one dead, 32 injured

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:47 (IST)

Police confirms one person has died and that 32 people have been injured, 10 of them critical

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:43 (IST)

Protocol for terror attack initiated, says Catalonia police

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:41 (IST)

An image of the van that mowed down people, courtesy Twitter

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:34 (IST)

Map of the route taken by the attackers

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:31 (IST)

All metro and train stations have been closed

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:30 (IST)

Suspect hiding in a bar, says police

Aug 17, 2017 - 22:27 (IST)

Eyewitnesses say people try to use shops as escape route

A driver deliberately smashed a van into a crowd on Barcelona's most popular street on Thursday, killing at least one person before fleeing to a nearby bar, police said. Spanish public broadcaster RTVE says 1 suspect in Barcelona van attack has been arrested, reports AP.

Barcelona terror attack highlights Van rams crowd 13 dead 50 injured 1 suspect arrested

Police officers cordon off a street in Barcelona, Spain. AP

Officers in Spain's second-largest city said the ramming on the popular Las Ramblas boulevard was a "terrorist attack" and a police source said one suspect had left the scene and was "holed up in a bar".

Regional interior minister Joaquin Forn said that at least one person had been killed and 32 others were wounded, warning however that the toll could rise.

A local government source earlier said two people had died.

Vehicles have been used in several terror attacks in Europe in recent years, including a jihadist massacre that claimed 86 lives in the French Riviera city of Nice.

The famous Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona's busiest streets, lined with shops and restaurants and normally thronged with tourists and street performers until well into the night.

Police said there had been a "huge collision" between a van and pedestrians on the thoroughfare and a police source said officers were seeking a total of two suspects.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is sending condolences to the families and victims of the attack in Barcelona and has offered U.S. assistance to authorities in Spain.

He said U.S. diplomats in Spain are currently assisting Americans there and asked those who are safe to notify their friends and families. He said the United States would never relent in tracking down terrorist suspects and holding them to account for their actions.

He said "terrorists around the world should know that the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice", reports AP.

Chaotic scenes were witnessed at busy commercial area of Barcelona. Police in the northern Spanish city say a white van jumped the sidewalk in the district. The police has confirmed that the incident was "most likely" a terrorist attack.

Following the incident, the neighbourhood was cordoned off, with several ambulances and police vehicles on the scene, an AFP correspondent said. Stores were also shut down in the area. According to CNN, eight ambulances are on the scene so far and citizens have been evacuated.

A photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE allegedly shows three people lying on the ground in the street. Catalan emergency services have warned people to stay away from around Plaça de Catalunya, an area popular with tourists.

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

Agencies

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