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Barcelona: Van hits crowd in Las Ramblas tourist spot

Terrorist attack in Barcelona
  • EFE

A van has crashed into a crowd of people in Las Ramblas, a very famous tourist spot in central Barcelona, Spain, causing the death of 13 people and at least 100 injuries, 15 of them seriously.

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

Spanish media reported that the Guardia Civil have identified the suspect thought to have hired the white Fiat van used in the attack. The man is the Moroccan Driss Oukabir, from Aghbala, who stayed legaly in Spain with possession of a NIE the identity document issued to foreigners who are resident in Spain, published The Guardian.

In addition to Oukabir, deteined in Ripoll (Girona), police officers captured a Spanish man in Alcanar (Tarragona).

Reports indicated that a hostage situation involving two armed men is ongoing at a nearby restaurant, but the information is unclear at this time.

Emergency services are urging people to stay away from the area around Plaça Catalunya, at the top north of Las Ramblas, and they are taking cover in nearby shops and cafes.

At least 8 ambulances are in the place helping people. The area has been cordoned off and local metro and train stations remain closed.

“I think several people were hit. It was horrible, there was panic. Terrible,” Marc Esparcia, a 20-year-old student, told the BBC.

Spanish police are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Spain has been victim of several terrorist attacks in the modern era, specially carried out by internal armed groups as ETA, the oldest organized set of those who use terrorism nowadays.

The two bigger attacks suffered by Spanish people have been the series of bomb explosions in 4 trains of the Atocha Station in Madrid, in March 2004, claimed by al-Qaida-inspired extremists, killing 192 people and injuring 2057; and then the ETA´s attack in the Terminal 4 of the Madrid-Barajas Airport, in December 2006, which ended with the death of 2 people.

Vehicles have been used in several terror attacks in Europe in recent years, including a massacre that claimed 86 lives in the French city of Nice and other in the German city of Heidelberg, were one person died.

Ada Colau, the mayor of Barcelona, in response to the incident ensured that the cowards who tried to sow terror will not succeed. "Barcelona has always been a city of peace, dialogue and democracy".

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