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Thirteen people have been killed and at least 50 injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians in a terror attack in Barcelona.
Catalan Police confirmed the death toll following the rampage in Las Ramblas – the city’s busiest shopping street – around 5pm (local time) on Thursday.
At least 10 of the injured victims are believed to be in a serious condition, a spokesman added.
Catalonia’s regional interior chief Joaquim Forn told reporters: “Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise.”
One man has been arrested over the incident which is being treated as a terror attack.
Police have not yet confirmed the identity of the suspect but released images of French resident Driss Oukabir who is believed to have rented the van used in the rampage.
The driver of the van fled on foot following the smash, Reuters reported.
Officials dismissed claims that two armed men had holed themselves up a restaurant close to the scene of the attack and had potentially taken hostages.
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.
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 historic tree-lined street popular with holidaymakers.
Footage showed witnesses rush to the aid of people left injured on the pavement.
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.”
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.”
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 said 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 claimed he saw “women and children just running and they looked terrified.”
The onlooker added that 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, he said.
He said: “It’s just kind of a tense situation….”Clearly, people were scared.”
This story is being updated.
London News & Search