Barcelona Terror Attack: At Least 12 Dead After Van Plows into Crowd; 2 Suspects Arrested

Barcelona Terror Attack: At Least 12 Dead After Van Plows into Crowd; 2 Suspects Arrested

ISIS on Thursday afternoon claimed responsibility for the terror attack in Barcelona that killed at least 12 people and wounded 80 others.

The terror group took credit for the assault via its propaganda arm, according to SITE Intel Group.

“The perpetrators of the attack in #Barcelona are Islamic state soldiers and carried out the operation on command of [ISIS’ leader] of targeting coalition countries,” the ISIS release stated.

At least two people have been arrested as suspects in the attack, according to the regional president of Catalonia.

Police initially named Driss Oukabir, a Moroccan citizen who lived in Spain legally, as a suspect in the attack. However, local media are reporting a man with that name told police that his identification documents were stolen, possibly by his younger brother.

Oukabir rented the van that was used in the attack, according to El Pais.

A government official has confirmed to Fox News that intelligence agencies are now combing through their holdings, including terror watch lists, to determine if Oukabir was known to the FBI, DHS and other agencies. Officials are also working to determine if the suspect was blocked from entering the U.S., or if this was a radicalized individual that was not on government radar.

A white van jumped onto a sidewalk and sped through a pedestrian zone on Las Ramblas of Barcelona, the famous main pedestrian walk way that crosses the city. The van swerved from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents.

Police described the incident on Twitter as a “massive crash.”

State-owned broadcaster RTVE reported that investigators think two vans were used — one for the attack and a second as a getaway vehicle.

A second suspect was killed during a shootout with police in Sant Just, a town located 7 miles outside of Barcelona, El Mundo newspaper reported. It’s unclear if that incident is related to the van attack.

Police said that a bomb squad is checking out the area where the driver of a car who struck two police officers is located.

Local media originally reported two men involved in the attack had been holed up in a bar, but that was dispelled by Catalan police.

Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy tweeted that he is going to Barcelona.

“Catalonia has always been a land of peace. We will never let a minority to end our way of living, which has been forged throughout the ages,” regional president Carlos Puigdemont said in a press conference.

“We are a strong city in its diversity and values. Barcelona is a city of peace, of dialogue, of democracy, valient, open to the world. The cowards that have tried to plant terror will not get away with it,” Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona said.

Interior Minister Joaquim Forn, condemned the attack, adding the number of 13 dead and about 50 injured may change because there are serious injuries.

“We are working to restore maximum order,” he told a group of reporters.

A grisly video of the incident appeared to show at least five people lying motionless on the ground, with legs twisted and heads bloodied.

“It was real chaos, people started running, screaming. There was a loud bang,” eyewitness Ethan Spibey told Sky News.

Footage from reporters on the ground shows armed officers combing a market.

Albert Tort, a 47-year-old nurse who lives near Las Ramblas, told El Pais that what he saw at the scene was an “authentic disaster.”

“Police would not let me go through but I identified myself as a nurse and I went in,” he said. “What I saw was an authentic disaster. I counted at least 6 dead, I tried to revive a young [man] but it was impossible.”

Barcelona resident Keith Fleming told the Associated Press 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.

Fleming said he saw “women and children just running and they looked terrified,” he then 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 says the officers still are there with guns drawn and riot police stationed at the end of the block.

President Trump condemned the attack, saying in a tweet “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”

Catalan emergency services said people should not go to the area around Placa Catalunya, according to Reuters.

Emergency services in Catalonia say they have asked the Metro and train services in the area to close.

Police cordoned off the broad street and shut down its stores. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of the emergency services.

Facebook has activated its Safety Check feature that lets users notify friends and family that they are safe following the Barcelona attack.

Barcelona’s tourism association has offered rooms in area hotels to tourists who have been displaced by ther attack.

The U.S consulate in Barcelona said on Twitter it was “aware of a reported incident at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Please avoid the area and monitor local police @mossos for updates.”

“Americans in Spain: If you are safe, be sure to notify friends and loved ones. If you use social media, be sure to update your status,” the consulate tweeted.

The National Counterterrorism Center, the government hub for threat analysis, confirmed to Fox News the center is monitoring the events in Barcelona and note the use of a vehicle as a weapon.

The Department of Homeland Security said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke has been briefed on the situation. “DHS has reached out to Spanish authorities, and the Department is standing by to support our allies as they respond to and recover from this horrendous attack. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and those affected,” the agency said in a statement.

Spain has been the target of numerous terror attacks in the last few years, drawing the attention of the U.S. State Department.

The attack was the country’s deadlist since 2004, when Al Qaeda-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coorindated attacks on Madrid’s commuter trains.

Since July 2016, vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in terror attacks across Europe, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London, and Stockholm.

Las Ramblas is a packed tourist area in central Barcelona whose central feature is a broad promenade leading to the water. The stretch is lined with numerous shops, restaurants, a sprawling market and Gaudí architecture.

People walk down a wide, pedestrianized path in the center of the street, but cars can travel on either side of the area.

About Alexis Sostre

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

Check Also

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dead at 91

Playboy Founder Hugh Hefner Dead at 91

Hugh Hefner -- the silk-robed Casanova whose Playboy men's magazine popularized the term "centerfold," glamorized an urbane bachelor lifestyle and helped spur the sexual revolution of the 1960s -- has died, the magazine said late Wednesday. He was 91.