At least 13 people killed in Barcelona in what police are calling a terror attack
BARCELONA (KUSI) — Thirteen people are dead after a white van plowed through a crowd of tourists and residents on a sidewalk in Spain’s Las Ramblas district Thursday in what police are calling a terror attack.
Hours later, a second car ran over two officers before being shot and killed.
A government official confirmed that up to 13 people were killed and more than 80 were injured when a white van drove into a crowd of people in the Spanish shopping area, swerving from side to side through the street, CNN reported. Several people were seen sprawled on the ground, many bleeding and seriously wounded.
Two armed men exited the van and were arrested about two hours after the initial attack, police said.
According to the Associated Press, Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said the van driving up onto a sidewalk and swerving among pedestrians in a crowded area was "clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible."
Trapero said the two suspects in custody were directly linked to the attack, "but that doesn’t mean that either were the author of the attack."
Armed police officers dispersed through the city and a helicopter circled overhead searching for additional suspects Thursday evening. No information on the suspects was provided but police said the man was being treated as a terrorist.
The terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, calling the suspects "soldiers of the Islamic State."
— Marta Solé (@martassole) August 17, 2017
At one point, the two suspects were believed to be holed up in a nearby restaurant, but police denied these reports.
"There is nobody held up in any bar in the center of Barcelona," a Catalonia police officer said.
— Kitana (@EskrotaRota) August 17, 2017
Hours after the van attack, a second car hit two officers at a traffic blockade in another area of Barcelona. The man was shot and killed by troopers.
Major Josep Lluis Trapero of the Catalonia region’s police force said the driver is not thought to have been involved in the earlier van attack.
He said a female officer who was run down by the vehicle suffered a broken leg.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said his country is mourning in solidarity with the city of Barcelona and other cities in Europe that have been hit by deadly extremist attacks.
According to AP, Rajoy traveled to Barcelona Thursday to show support and said the victims and their families "are in this moment our main priority."
Rajoy declared three days of mourning across Spain.
Spain has been on a high-security alert since June 2015 as terrorist attacks in other European countries increased. Spanish police reported making at least 200 jihadist arrests since then.
President Donald Trump tweeted his solidarity with the people of Spain.
The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 17, 2017
Las Ramblas is a popular street of shops in the heart of Barcelona where cars drive on either side of a wide pedestrian walkway. The street and nearby Metro and train stations were closed.
This is a developing story and will be updated.