Van Rams Into Tourist Center of Barcelona, Killing Over a Dozen and Injuring More Than 100 People
Police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.
A van drove through crowds of people in Barcelona’s city center on Thursday, killing 14 people and injuring at least 100 more, police told BBC.
Around 5 p.m. local time (11 a.m. ET) a driver reportedly drove a rented white Fiat through the pedestrian stretch of Las Ramblas, a central boulevard and major tourist spot in the Spanish city filled with shops, bars and restaurants, according to BBC news.
Witnesses told the BBC that the driver appeared to be targeting pedestrians, weaving back and forth down the boulevard, until he stopped the van near the Plaça Boqueria and fled on foot.
Two people have been arrested over the Las Ramblas attack, but police are still hunting the man who fled the scene.
Spanish police shot dead five suspected terrorists on Friday morning in the town of Cambrils in a second vehicle attack, that police say was linked to the first.
Seven people, including a police officer, were wounded in the second attack, Catalan emergency services said. One person is in a critical condition.
The attackers were shot at by police when they got out of their vehicle, which had overturned, according to the BBC.
Police said the men were wearing explosive belts, and one was reportedly holding a knife.
The situation in Cambrils — about 110km south-west of Barcelona — is now under control, according to police.
Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has announced three days of national mourning and a minute’s silence will be held on Friday.
Witnesses at La Ramblas say police arrived on the scene very quickly and shouted at people to “move back” from the pathway to avoid being hit. Police in the neighborhood where the attack occurred have cordoned off the area and are investigating another car suspected of being used as a getaway vehicle.
The attack comes at the height of the tourist season and in a top tourist city in Europe. Several attacks using vehicles to hit pedestrians have occurred since July last year, including the recent incident in Charlottesville, Virginia, two attacks in London, and the attack in Nice, France that killed 86 people on Bastille Day in 2016.
Attacks like these threaten the ability of countries and societies to accomplish the United Nations Global Goals — particularly Goal 16: “Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions.” Global Citizen campaigns on achieving the goals; you can take action here.
Witnesses at Las Ramblas on Thursday said the boulevard was jam-packed with people. People were screaming and ran to find shelter in the nearby shops and restaurants. Police ushered people into the shops for safety, where many waited over an hour after the incident occurred.
Leaders around the world have spoken out in support of Spain, including French president Emmanual Macron and Germany’s Prime Minister Angela Merkel.
Toutes mes pensées et la solidarité de la France pour les victimes de la tragique attaque à #Barcelone. Nous restons unis et déterminés.— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 17, 2017
Solidaridad con #Barcelona. Estamos a su lado. 🇫🇷🇪🇸— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) August 17, 2017
The United States has offered to assist Spain, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made a statement on Thursday stating the US stands with its allies to bring terrorists to justice. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump also tweeted their support.
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
Thoughts and prayers to #Barcelona— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) August 17, 2017
Around the world, people, celebrities and politicians alike are showing support for Barcelona, the victims of the attack and their families.
Saddened by the terror attack in #Barcelona. My heart goes out to the victims, their families, and our friends in Spain. Estamos contigo.— Senator Tim Kaine (@timkaine) August 17, 2017
Tonight our thoughts are with everyone who has been affected by what's happened in #Barcelona & our all emergency services colleagues.— London Ambulance (@Ldn_Ambulance) August 17, 2017