Barcelona attack: What we know so far
As Europe reels from yet another Islamic State-inspired terrorist attack, here’s everything we know so far about the brutal van attack in the heart of Barcelona.
Las Ramblas, a popular, mostly pedestrianized boulevard with shops, market stalls and restaurants that stretches for 1.2km through the city of Barcelona and is often packed with tourists.
At about 5pm local time Thursday, a rented white Fiat van mounted a pavement and plowed through pedestrians in a zigzag motion at high speed for several hundred meters, reports Reuters.
Two men have been arrested in connection with the attack, although neither were the driver of the van. Police confirmed one of the suspects is Moroccan, the other from the Spanish enclave of Melilla.
The driver of the van fled the scene on foot. Contrary to reports, police confirmed that he was not armed. The driver is still on the run, reports El Mundo.
21:40 Police presence for the incident of #Barcelona is still working. We confirm two person under arrest— Mossos (@mossos) August 17, 2017
A second van linked to the attack was found in the Catalan town of Vic, north of Barcelona. The vehicle was reportedly intended as the getaway car.
Thirteen people have been confirmed dead and 100 people injured, according to Joaquim Forn from Catalan’s interior ministry, who added the death toll could rise.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the attack according to the terrorist group’s AMAQ news agency.
"The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states,” IS said through its agency.
A second attack
Authorities confirmed that there was a second attack on a police checkpoint at Barcelona’s Avinguda Diagonal, some 6 miles outside the city center, just before 7:30pm local time.
Two officers were run over and the driver was shot dead by police. It’s not yet known if this incident is linked to the van attack.
19:24 Un conductor ha atropellat a dos mossos en un control policial pic.twitter.com/R64Ur5fQUO— Mossos (@mossos) August 17, 2017
Police also confirmed that a previous incident, in which one person died following an explosion at a house in Alcanar on Wednesday night, is believed to be linked to today’s attack.