UK

Barcelona Van Attack: 13 Dead, More Than 100 Injured As Vehicle Strikes Las Ramblas

Everything we know so far.

17/08/2017 19:27 BST | Updated 17/08/2017 22:50 BST

UPDATE: Barcelona reels from latest vehicle terror attack

What we know so far:

  • Incident happened around 5pm local time on Las Ramblas, ​​a busy tourist area
  • Authorities have confirmed there are least 13 people dead and more than 100 injured
  • Islamic State claims responsibility
  • Two people have been arrested, Catalonia’s regional president has said
  • Police in Barcelona have said the deadly van incident is ‘most likely’ a terror attack
  • Van crossed central promenade of the Rambla de Canaletas and crashed into a kiosk
  • Police were looking for a man of 1.70m, white shirt and blue stripes as a suspect
  • Metro stations are closed and people have been asked to ‘avoid the area’
  • Two police officers are hit by a car in what may be an unrelated incident
  • One person has died in an explosion in a house in Catalonia, which police say is related

The death toll of a terror attack in which a van was driven into “dozens” of people on Barcelona’s busy Las Ramblas on Thursday afternoon has risen to 13.

Witnesses described screaming and panic as people fled the tourist hot spot after the van hit people at around 5pm local time.

The car reportedly drove 530 metres before it crashed into a kiosk. More than 100 people were injured.

Social media footage showed people running near near Barcelona’s Plaça de Catalunya. Another film showed people on the ground unresponsive in the middle of the street’s pedestrianised middle.

Two people have been arrested after van attack, Catalonia’s regional president has said. Police also reportedly seized a second van in the Catalonian town of Vic as part of their investigation.

The so-called Islamic State has claimed responsibility, though the degree or nature of its involvement is unclear. 

The Belgian government has said one of its nationals is among the dead.

In the minutes after the attack, the picture developed rapidly and many things were reported and then denied.

Police initially said only person was confirmed dead. The Catalan Government then said 13 had died which was later revised to 12.

It was initially reported armed men were holed up in a restaurant after fleeing the van but this does not appear to be true. 

PAU BARRENA via Getty Images
A policemen stand as he blocks the street to a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on Barcelona's Rambla
Ji-Sub Jeong/HuffPost
Las Ramblas, known as Placa De Catalunya, is a popular tourist street in the heart of Barcelona

El National reported a van had struck the walkway, causing a stampede. Police have cordoned off the street.

Police initially only confirmed one person had died but the Catalan Government confirmed 13 had died.

The official Catalan Police tweeted to confirm a “massive trampling” by a person with a van at 5.19pm local time.

Catalan police said the incident was being treated as a terror attack.

Authorities in the city have closed nearby public transit stations.

Las Ramblas, a broad street, is very popular with tourists, especially so during the height of the summer season.

The long stretch is lined with shops, stalls, a market, cafes, restaurants and hotels.

Pictures posted on social media show a police cordon in place. 

Other photos appear to show people lying on the ground, apparently injured, receiving treatment.

Police urged people not to share images of the injured and dead. One video showed many people lying on the ground in the middle of the street.

JOSEP LAGO via Getty Images
A policeman stands next to an ambulance after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona

El Pais reported that the van ran through a traffic light and fled the scene after mowing down “dozens” of people.

Immediately after the incident, police said they were looking for a man of 1.70m, wearing a white shirt with blue stripes as a suspect.

Other pictures show damaged stalls and other debris strewn across the pavement.

Video has emerged showing people running near to the scene.

Distraught witnesses were seen being led away from the Las Ramblas area.

 

 

Brits and other foreign tourists have tweeted after being caught up in the incident.

 

The British Foreign Office guidance for Spain reads: “Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Spain.

“Attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places visited by foreigners.

“Spanish police have disrupted a number of groups suspected of recruiting individuals to travel to Syria and Iraq from 2015 to the present date.

“Some of them expressed an intention to carry out attacks in Europe.

“There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria.”

Prime Minister Theresa May said her thoughts are with the victims of the “terrible attack” in Barcelona, adding: “The UK stands with Spain against terror.”

Spanish Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy Brey, tweeted to say the priority was to help those wounded on Las Ramblas and assist security forces.

[MORE: Witnesses describe screaming and panic as van hits pedestrians in Barcelona]

This is a developing news story and will be updated. Check back for the fullest version. Follow HuffPost UK on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.