What Happened In Barcelona? Officials In Spain Are Calling The Las Ramblas Incident A Terrorist Attack
On Thursday, at least 10 people died and more than 50 were injured when a van drove into pedestrians in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district, which police are considering an act of terrorism. According to reports from CNN, one suspect has been arrested and Spanish authorities denied that there was a hostage situation involved in the incident, as initially reported.
The Associated Press described the van as "swerving from side to side" as it drove onto the sidewalk at around 6 p.m. An eyewitness, Ali Shirzainia told CNN, "I saw people flying in the air and everyone was running into shops on either side. I saw a lot of ambulances, I saw a lot of emergency vehicles almost immediately." The extent of injuries is not known.
The New York Times reported that the Islamic State has taken credit for the attack. According to the CBS, Catalonia's regional president confirmed a second suspect has been arrested as part of the attack.
According to the Associated Press, Spanish broadcaster RTVE reported that investigators think two vans may have been used in the incident: one to perform the attack and another as a getaway car. Although authorities have confirmed it as an act of terror, no motive has been discovered.
As soon as the incident occurred, police cleared the scene and requested that people stay away from the area and closed metro and train stations nearby according to the New York Times.
President Donald Trump condemned the Barcelona attack in a tweet, saying, "The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!" According to the New York Times, American counterterrorism authorities offered assistance to Spanish authorities.
The Las Ramblas district is a popular area for tourists in Barcelona.
The attack is one of many recent events in Europe that have harmed crowds. In July 2016, a man drove a truck into Bastille Day crowds in France, killing 86 people. In December 2016, a driver crashed a car into a Christmas market in Berlin that killed 12. In March, another man killed four people when he drove an SUV into pedestrians on a London bridge, then killed a police officer. In June, another attack occured in London when attackers killed seven people and wounded 48 others after driving a van onto London Bridge and stabbing people in a nearby market.
The attack was Spain's deadliest since 2004 when al Qaida-inspired bombers targeted commuter trains in Madrid, killing 192 people.