Breaking: Van plows into crowd in Barcelona, reports of gunshots heard; Update: 13 dead; Update: Suspect ID’d? Update: ISIS claims credit
Two people are dead, claims the Sun, and many more injured. The gunshot reports are unconfirmed right now but it’s worth noting that the crash happened right outside a kosher restaurant in the city’s Las Ramblas district.
The incident – confirmed by police as a terror attack – took place shortly after 5pm local time (3pm GMT) outside the Maccabi restaurant on La Rambla boulevard.
According to Spanish police, the white van mounted the pavement and struck several people, with the person driving then fleeing on foot. Some eyewitnesses reported hearing gunshots.
“Other unverified reports from local TV channel TV3 say two armed men are holding hostages in a nearby Turkish restaurant,” reports the Sun. Much is uncertain right now, needless to say, but if it seems like there have been a lot of vehicle-ramming terror attacks lately, that’s because there have been. Peruse this list at Wikipedia. Roughly half the incidents are from the last three years, including eight this year alone plus three more in 2016. Stand by for updates.
Update: That last bit from the Sun about armed men may be correct. From the AP:
Update: To no one’s surprise, the police believe this was no accident.
Update: This video posted by El Pais captures the first moments after the crash.
There’s video circulating of victims in the aftermath but it’s graphic.
Update: Sky updates to say that El Pais is now also confirming 13 dead — at least. Horrendous. Still no word on whether there really are two terrorists barricaded in a bar.
Update: The second van has been found in the town of Vic, reports Sky. For the moment, Spanish authorities are confirming only one dead with 32 injured.
Update: We have a name.
Update: Some good news: Spanish media says one suspect has been arrested.
Update: Here’s an … interesting bit of trivia about the guy who rented the van:
Update: Sky has more on one of the suspects:
Man thought to be the driver of the van which hit pedestrians is reportedly held up in a bar, surrounded by police.
TV3 reports that a Spanish passport from a person of Moroccan origin was found at the scene of the attack.
It adds that officers have surrounded a bar called Rey de Istanbul. Police have not confirmed if they have a suspect cornered.
Update: Good news: “Catalan police said there is no one holed up inside a bar. They confirm that a man has been arrested.” Was this a lone wolf attack?
Update: Spanish authorities have now confirmed the earlier reports. Thirteen dead, more than 50 injured.
Update: No surprise. Driss Oukabir, the man named above as having rented the van, is also the suspect arrested in the attack. He’s a Moroccan citizen.
Update: ISIS says he’s one of theirs:
Islamic State has claimed it carried out the deadly attack in Barcelona, according to the group’s Amaq news agency.
In a statement, it said: “The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states.”