Barcelona terror attack kills 13

Published: August 18, 2017 - 13:06

The police are treating the incident as a multiple planned terrorist attack

Hours after the van mows down the crowd in a packed tourist street in Barcelona, seven people were hurt in the second attack when alleged terrorists drove into pedestrians in the Spanish seaside resort of Cambrils, second in the series of recent attacks in Spain. An Audi A3 car rammed into people on the seaside promenade of the tourist city 120km south of Barcelona. The attacks have injured around 100 people and killed 13 people according to reports by Cadena Ser radio, citing police sources. Five suspected terrorist has been shot dead by security forces. The death toll was reported.

 According to reports in the Spanish newspaper, El Periodico, two armed men were holed up in a bar in Barcelona's city centre, and gunfire has also been reported in the area, although it is not clear if the two incidents are connected. A source familiar with the initial US government assessment said the incident appeared to be terrorism, and a White House spokeswoman said President Donald Trump was being kept abreast of the situation. Media reports said the van had zigzagged at high speed down the famous Las Ramblas Avenue, a magnet for tourists. "I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd partying and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that," an eyewitness was quoted saying by BBC. "

Mobile phone footage posted on Twitter showed several bodies strewn along the Ramblas, some motionless. Paramedics and bystanders bent over them, treating them and trying to comfort those still conscious. Around them, the boulevard was deserted, covered in rubbish and abandoned objects including hats, bags and a pram. "We saw a white van collide with people. We saw people going flying because of the collision, we also saw three cyclists go flying," Ellen Vercamm, on holiday in Barcelona, told El Pais newspaper. El Pais said the driver of the vehicle had fled on foot. TOURIST DRAW Emergency services said people should not go to the area around Barcelona's Placa Catalunya, one of the city's main squares at the top of the Ramblas, and requested the closure of nearby train and metro stations. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was in contact with authorities, and the priority was to attend to the injured.

The incident took place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe's top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year. Vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in a series of militant attacks across Europe since July 2016, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.

Barcelona is the capital of the wealthy north-eastern region of Catalonia, which plans to hold a popular vote on Oct. 1 on whether it should secede from Spain. It is in dispute with the central government, which says the vote cannot go ahead because it is unconstitutional. In recent weeks, threatening graffiti against tourists has appeared in Barcelona. 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. The attack was the deadliest in Spain since March 2004, when Islamist militants placed bombs on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,800.

With inputs from UNI