Barcelona terror attack: '13 dead' after van ploughs into crowds in Las Ramblas amid fears 'armed men have taken hostages in restaurant'

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Thirteen people are feared dead and 32 people have been injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians in a terror attack in Barcelona.

A white van mounted the pavement in Las Ramblas – the city’s busiest shopping street – injuring at least 20 people in the “massive crash”, police said on Twitter

Police confirmed at least one person had been killed in the incident which a spokesman said was being treated as a terror attack. 

However, Catalan media, quoting police sources, suggested the death toll stood at 13 following the rampage which happened just after 5pm local time (4pm GMT) on Thursday.

Officers also confirmed 32 people had been injured in the attack – 10 of those were said to have serious injuries.

Armed Police in Barcelona

Catalonia’s regional interior chief Joaquim Forn told reporters: “Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise.” 

The driver of the van is believed to have fled on foot, Reuters reported.

Following the crash local newspapers reported that two armed men had stormed a restaurant in the city and barricaded themselves inside.

It was not immediately clear if the men were linked to the attack but it is believed they could have taken hostages, Catalan newspapers reported.

Victims were left lying on the ground as police cordoned off the area and advised shops to close, local newspaper The El Pais reported. 

A second van, which police believe is linked to the attack, was found 40 miles outside of Barcelona.

Paramedics treat victims in Barcelona (AFP/Getty Images)

Emergency services urged people to avoid Placa Catalunya while the city’s train and Metro stations were shut down.

Dramatic images posted on social media showed armed police swarm the area popular with holidaymakers.

Footage showed witnesses rush to the aid of people left injured on the pavement.

Armed police at the site of the attack in Barcelona (AP)

Aamer Anwar was walking down the street, which he said was “jam-packed with tourists” at the time of the attack.

He told Sky News: “All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.

“Police were very, very quickly there, police officers with guns, batons, everywhere. Then the whole street started getting pushed back.”

Onlookers flee the scene of the crash in Barcelona (EPA)

Another onlooker described how he found shelter in a nearby shop as the horror unfolded.

Brendon Sissing wrote on Twitter: “We’re at Las Ramblas. I can confirm a van has hit people. A lot of people. It’s awful. We’ve found shelter in a shop nearby.”

Paramedics treat victims injured when a van ploughed into pedestrians in Barcelona (EPA)

And he told LBC: “It must have been doing 80km, 100km per hour. I just heard people screaming. I looked to my left and saw people being knocked down by this van.

He added: “It knocked into a whole bunch of people… and just kept going.”

Barcelona resident Keith Fleming says 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. 

He says he saw “women and children just running and they looked terrified.”

The onlooker said he 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 added that officers still are there with guns drawn and riot police stationed at the end of the block. 

His street now is deserted. 

Fleming says: “It’s just kind of a tense situation….”Clearly, people were scared.”

This story is being updated.


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