Thirteen people have died and more than 50 were injured on Thursday after a van ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas tourist area in Spain, a government official announced. Catalonia’s regional interior chief Joaquim Forn said that the incident was a terror attack.
The Catalan Police announced that they had arrested one man and said they were treating the incident as a terrorist attack. “The protocol for terrorist attacks has been activated,” they said. The driver of the vehicle is believed to have fled the scene on foot.
In the initial panic, news reports suggested that two armed men had sought cover in a bar in Barcelona’s city centre, and gunshots were heard in the La Boqueria Market area. However, by midnight Indian time, Spanish police dimissed this as a rumour.
Emergency services urged civilians to stay away from the area around Plaça Catalunya and also ordered metro and train stations to be closed, BBC reported.
“There was a loud noise, and everybody ran for cover,” said 20-year-old student Marc Esparcia. “There were a lot people, lots of families [at the site]. This is one of the most visited sites in Barcelona.”