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17 Aug, 2017 16:59

‘Van was going fast, stopped, then plowed into more people’ – Barcelona attack eyewitness to RT

Barcelona’s most popular street, La Rambla, was packed with “hundreds of people” as a van sped through it at, knocking down multiple pedestrians, and creating “panic” as people fled and sought shelter in roadside shops, an eyewitness said.

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Brendon Sissing told RT by phone that he had just exited a taxi when he witnessed the attack.

“I saw bunch of people running and screaming,” said Sissing, on holiday in Spain from the UK. “The van was speeding through under the trees in the pedestrian area. The van was going – I don’t know – at 80 to 100kmh. It was really fast. It was knocking people down – maybe 10 or 15 people. Then the van stopped, and it was pretty badly damaged when I saw it. There were hundreds of people there. Then accelerated again, and kept on going. I saw at least 10 people on the ground, some receiving treatment.”

RT journalist Daniel Chalyan was caught up in the wave of fleeing pedestrians.

“There was panic. People were running everywhere down the wrong side of the street. No one knew what had actually happened – people said that someone had planted a bomb,” Chalyan said.

“Police ordered us to hide. I am in a clothing store with two owners, and six customers. The windows are shuttered, we are on lockdown and still can’t get out, though the situation outside is getting calmer.”

Amiran Sardarov, a popular Russian blogger, arrived on the scene in the aftermath of what Spanish police have branded a terrorist attack.

“It remains crowded, police are trying to push everyone back behind the cordon. There is confusion, and rumors are flying,” he told RT by phone. “There are still bodies just lying around on the pavement. Those in the immediate vicinity of the attack are sitting on the pavement curbs, shaking. They seem to be in shock.”

Pavel Lisovtsov was in a hotel on the other side of La Rambla from Placa Catalunya, where the attack occurred.

“At first people immediately started rushing down to reception. Then armed police units appeared down the street, scanning through every shop. They were being polite but thorough. Now, everyone has gone out to the balconies and straining to see what is happening,” he told RT.

Catalan officials have confirmed that 13 people have died, and at least 80 have been injured in the attack. Police have also arrested one suspect in connection with a terrorism charge. Spanish media outlets earlier circulated a photo of a potential suspect, who had been named as Driss Oukabir.