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People flee the scene of a terror attack in Barcelona. On Thursday, a rental van accelerated into a crowd of pedestrians gathered in a busy pedestrian area, La Rumbla. Image courtesy of Giannis Papanikos, AP.

A terror attack in Barcelona has killed at least 13 people and left over 100 injured.

On Thursday afternoon, a rental van barreled down the Spanish city’s popular pedestrian street, La Rumbla, mowing down scores of bystanders until screeching to a halt.

While not all the information about the attack has yet been uncovered, local authorities have declared it an act of terror.

Officials in the autonomous Spanish region of Catalonia – which includes Barcelona – said they’ve arrested two people in relation to the incident. Police say neither of the men in custody are suspected of being the driver, but are nevertheless connected to the attack.

The state’s police chief, Josep Lluis Trapero, told CNN that whoever was behind the wheel managed to escape the scene amidst panic and confusion.

“The driver abandoned the van and escaped from the area,” said Trapero. “There is no evidence that he was armed.”

The Spanish National Police released a photograph of Driss Oubakir, whose documents were used to rent the van used in the attack. Local media outlets reported that Oubakir was born in Morocco and is in his mid-twenties.

However, BBC noted that Oubakir has contacted law enforcement, claiming not to have been involved in Thursday’s tragedy. He said his identification and other vital documents had been stolen.

Although no individual or group has been established as a culprit, ISIS media outlet Amaq reported the terrorist organization had claimed credit.

La Rumbla is a busy pedestrian section of Barcelona, popular with locals and tourists alike. Thursday’s terror attack saw a van weaving haphazardly along one of the area’s main plazas. Image courtesy of Reuters, via BBC.

According to Amaq, the crime was carried out by “Islamic State soldiers.”

Police believe an explosion which took place elsewhere in the region may have been connected. That incident occurred on Wednesday and claimed one life.

Trapero claims the bombing – which killed a Spanish national – was related to the van attack, but didn’t specify why or how.

Barcelona authorities expect the number of fatalities to rise. Some of those injured are reported as being in critical condition.

Eyewitnesses said the driver of the van was deliberately trying to hit as many people as possible.

A New Orleans businessman, speaking to BBC, said he was arriving to La Rumbla when he “heard a crowd screaming. It sounded like they were screaming for a movie star.

“I saw the van. It had already been busted on the front. It was weaving left and right, trying to hit people as fast as possible. There were people lying on the ground,” he said.

Police responded quickly to the attack, cordoning off the area and rushing to offer medical assistance to victims.

The Prime Minister of Spain announced he’d be flying to the city for an emergency council and to ensure the perpetrator is swiftly taken into custody.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson pledged that the American government would provide any needed or necessary support, while also urging residents of the States currently in Barcelona to contact their families.

President Donald Trump also condemned the attack, suggesting that the Spanish “Be tough & strong.”

Sources

Barcelona: 13 killed as van rams crowds in Las Ramblas

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Barcelona Terror Attack: Van Ramming Kills at Least 13, Injures More Than 100

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