As many as 13 people were killed on Thursday after a driver deliberately slammed a van into crowds on Barcelona’s most popular street. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group. Police said they had arrested two suspects after the assault, the latest in a wave of vehicle rampages across Europe in recent years.
The IS propaganda agency Amaq claimed that “soldiers” from the jihadist group carried out the attack, according to the Site Intelligence Group which monitors Islamist websites. Witnesses told of the panic unleashed in an area thronging with local residents and tourists in Spain’s second biggest city, as world leaders united in condemning the carnage.
“We can confirm there are 13 dead and more than 100 injured,” regional interior minister Joaquim Forn said on Twitter. Belgium said one of its nationals was among the dead.
Among the suspects, one person was named by the police union as Driss Oukabir, but there were no further details and police denied earlier reports a perpetrator was holed up in a bar.
Notably, the famous Las Ramblas is one of Barcelona’s busiest streets, lined with shops and restaurants and normally packed with tourists and street performers until well into the night. Police said there had been a “huge collision” between a van and pedestrians on the thoroughfare and a police source said officers were seeking a total of two suspects.