Barcelona terror attack: At least 12 dead after van plows into crowd; 2 suspects arrested
DEVELOPING: At least two suspects have been arrested after a van plowed into a crowd of pedestrians in a popular Barcelona tourist area Thursday, leaving at least 12 people dead and 80 hospitalized, the regional president of Catalonia said.
Police have arrested Driss Oukabir, a Moroccan citizen who lived in Spain legally, as a suspect in the attack. Oukabir rented the van that was used in the attack, according to El Pais.
Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, condemned the attack, adding the number of 13 dead and about 50 injured may change because there are serious injuries.
“We are working to restore maximum order,” he told a group of reporters.
The incident took place on Las Ramblas of Barcelona, the famous main pedestrian walk way that crosses the city. Police described the incident on Twitter as a “massive crash.”
State-owned broadcaster RTVE reported that investigators think two vans were used — one for the attack and a second as a getaway vehicle.
A second suspect was killed during a shootout with police in Sant Just, a town located 7 miles outside of Barcelona, El Mundo newspaper reported.
Local media originally reported two men involved in the attack had been holed up in a bar, but that was dispelled by Catalan police.
A grisly video of the incident appeared to show at least five people lying motionless on the ground, with legs twisted and heads bloodied.
“It was real chaos, people started running, screaming. There was a loud bang,” eyewitness Ethan Spibey told Sky News.
Footage from reporters on the ground shows armed officers combing a market.
Albert Tort, a 47-year-old nurse who lives near Las Ramblas, told El Pais that what he saw at the scene was an “authentic disaster.”
“Police would not let me go through but I identified myself as a nurse and I went in,” he said. “What I saw was an authentic disaster. I counted at least 6 dead, I tried to revive a young [man] but it was impossible.”
Barcelona resident Keith Fleming told the Associated Press he was watching television in his building on a side street just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to the balcony to investigate.
Fleming said he saw “women and children just running and they looked terrified,” he then heard a bang, possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter, as more people raced by.
The American living in the Spanish city said police arrived, and pushed everyone a full block down the street. He says the officers still are there with guns drawn and riot police stationed at the end of the block.
President Trump condemned the attack, saying in a tweet “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”
Catalan emergency services said people should not go to the area around Placa Catalunya, according to Reuters.
Emergency services in Catalonia say they have asked the Metro and train services in the area to close.
Police cordoned off the broad street and shut down its stores. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of the emergency services.
Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature that lets users notify friends and family that they are safe following the Barcelona attack.
The U.S consulate in Barcelona said on Twitter it was “aware of a reported incident at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Please avoid the area and monitor local police @mossos for updates.”
“Americans in Spain: If you are safe, be sure to notify friends and loved ones. If you use social media, be sure to update your status,” the consulate tweeted.
The National Counterterrorism Center, the government hub for threat analysis, confirmed to Fox News the center is monitoring the events in Barcelona and note the use of a vehicle as a weapon.
The Department of Homeland Security said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has been briefed on the situation. “DHS has reached out to Spanish authorities, and the Department is standing by to support our allies as they respond to and recover from this horrendous attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those affected,” the agency said in a statement.
Spain has been the target of numerous terror attacks in the last few years, drawing the attention of the U.S. State Department.
Since July 2016, vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in terror attacks across Europe, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London, and Stockholm.
Las Ramblas is a packed tourist area in central Barcelona whose central feature is a broad promenade leading to the water. The stretch is lined with numerous shops, restaurants, a sprawling market and Gaudí architecture.
People walk down a wide, pedestrianized path in the center of the street, but cars can travel on either side of the area.
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Lucia Suarez, Jake Gibson, Cody Derespina, James Rogers, Judson Berger, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.