Barcelona Attack Live Updates: Van Plows Into Crowd on Famous Las Ramblas

Update: 5:54 p.m. ET—The Islamic State group (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for an attack Thursday in Barcelona that killed at least 13 and injured at least 80, according to the Catalan government. Police said they detained two suspects but did not have the driver who rammed into a crowd of people. 

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, the SITE Intelligence Group reported. 

Update: 5:12 p.m. ET—Police arrested two suspects after a terror attack Thursday in Barcelona. The suspects are a Spanish national from Melilla and a Moroccan, but neither was the driver of the van that crashed into a crowd of people. 

Carles Puigdemont, the Catalan president, said the region would hold three days of mourning. "Catalonia has been, and will be, a land of peace. A place of welcome. And we will not let a minority end our way of being that has been forged over centuries," he said. 

Update: 4:12 p.m. ET—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. would help Spain track down any suspects linked to a terror attack Thursday in Barcelona. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert‏ tweeted: "Sec Tillerson: Terrorists around the world should know the US and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice."

Cities all over the world came out in support of Barcelona Thursday, with light displays and other symbols of solidarity. 

Update: 3:27 p.m. ET—Former President Barack Obama said Thursday he was thinking of the victims of the terror attack in Barcelona. “Michelle and I are thinking of the victims and their families in Barcelona. Americans will always stand with our Spanish friends. Un abrazo,” he wrote on Twitter, using the Spanish phrase for “a hug.”

Update: 3:20 p.m. ET—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the U.S. Senate stood with Spain after a terror attack in Barcelona Thursday that left 13 people dead. “U.S. Senate community expresses condolences to the victims of the #Barcelona terrorist attack. America stands united w/ the people of Spain,” he tweeted.

Update: 3:02 p.m. ET—President Trump has continued his reaction to the Barcelona assault, tweeting: “Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!”

Update: 2:55 p.m. ET—The Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia is reporting that one of the suspected attackers involved in the vehicle-ramming attack has been shot dead by police in a shootout on the outskirts of the city. It remains unclear how many attackers were involved in the van attack.

“They won’t terrorize us,” the Spanish royal family said, condemning the assault.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted his solidarity with Barcelona. “We remain united and determined,” Macron said on Twitter, calling it a “tragic attack.”

Update: 2:40 p.m. ET—Police are still searching for the suspect. Catalan regional police say they are evacuating the Las Ramblas area as the manhunt continues. This is despite their announcement that they have arrested one suspect in connection with the attack.

Regional Catalan official Joaquim Forn has confirmed 13 people dead and 50 injured in the attack.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the Barcelona assault “a revolting attack,” her spokesman said.

Update: 2:33 p.m. ET—A Catalan regional government official has confirmed on Twitter that at least 13 people have been killed in the vehicle-ramming attack in Barcelona’s city center. 

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the country “stands with Spain against terror,” in reaction to the vehicle attack.

“My thoughts are with the victims of today’s terrible attack in Barcelona and the emergency services responding to this ongoing incident.” she wrote on Twitter.

Update: 2:23 p.m. ET—Catalan police, responding to initial reports, say there is no one holed up in a bar in the city center of Barcelona. But they have arrested one person and are “treating him as a terorrist.”

Again, it remains unclear if the main suspect in the van attack is Driss Oukabir, a man reportedly of Moroccan origin whose Facebook page said that he was originally from the southern French city of Marseille. It is unclear where he lived in Spain.

Update: 2:14 p.m. ET—Catalan police have confirmed that they have arrested one suspect in the Barcelona vehicle-ramming attack.

Update: 2:07 p.m. ET—President Donald Trump tweeted his response to the Barcelona vehicle-ramming attack. “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”

The Facebook page of Driss Oukabir has now been removed from the social media platform and is inaccessible.

At present, police have confirmed that at least one person has died in the attack, with dozens injured, and at least one suspect arrested in connection with the assault. 

Update: 1:57 p.m. ET—Spanish public broadcaster RTVE says one suspect in Barcelona van attack has been arrested. It remains unclear if that suspect is Driss Oukabir.

Police have confirmed Oukabir as the main suspect, according to El Paí​s. Oukabir is reportedly of Moroccan origin. His Facebook page shows anti-Israel posts as well as a slew of Moroccan music videos, including one from popular rapper 7LIWA. 

Social media users started posting comments underneath his posts after his identification, including remarks such as “Die in hell!” and “You murdered innocent people.” 

Update: 1:48 p.m. ET—Spanish police have found a second van connected to the Barcelona attack in the Catalan town of Vic, 69 kilometers north of Barcelona, local authorities have said, according to Reuters.

First Lady Melania Trump has reacted to the attacks with condolences for the Spanish city. “Thoughts and prayers to #Barcelona,” she wrote.

Update: 1:38 p.m. ET—El Paí​s is reporting that one of the suspects in the vehicle-ramming attack is Driss Oukabir, in whose name the vehicle was rented. His nationality remains unknown.

Supporters of the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) are celebrating the van attack that has left at least one people dead, but there is still no claim of responsibility.

Update: 1:28 p.m. ET—Catalan police and the regional interior ministry have confirmed that at least one person has died after a van plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona’s city center. They said at least 32 people were injured in the attack, 10 in serious condition.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered American assistance to Spain in the wake of the vehicle-ramming attack.

Update: 1:16 p.m. ET—A history of vehicle attacks in Europe:

Nice (July 2016)

Tunisian national Mohamed Bouhlel plowed a 19-ton truck into revelers celebrating the Bastille Day holiday on July 14, 2016, as they watched fireworks on the French Riviera city’s Promenade des Anglais. Bouhlel killed 86 people—the deadliest-ever vehicle attack on European soil. Armed police shot and killed him when he fired out of the cab of his vehicle. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the attack.

Berlin (December 2016)

On December 19, 2016, Tunisian national Anis Amri drove a truck into a Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12 people. He had stolen the truck from a Polish national he had shot dead.

A manhunt lasted for four days after the attack, until Italian police shot Amri dead in a Milan suburb. Amri had traveled to Italy from Germany, across the Netherlands, Belgium and France. ISIS later claimed the attack, releasing a video of Amri pledging allegiance to the group’s caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi on a Berlin bridge.

London (March 2017)

On March 22, a year after the ISIS-claimed Brussels bombings, Khalid Masood rammed a Hyundai i40 into civilians on Westminster Bridge in the heart of London, killing five people. He then exited the vehicle and murdered a policeman with a knife. Armed police then shot him dead. The following day, ISIS claimed the attack.

Stockholm (April 2017)

On April 7, an attacker plowed a truck into pedestrians at the Ahlens department store on a central Stockholm street, killing at least five people, according to police. The driver had hijacked the vehicle, which belonged to Swedish brewery Spendrups, earlier in the day. A court ruled that the attacker had ISIS sympathies.

London (June 2017)

An ISIS-inspired three-man cell rammed a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before exiting with machetes and fake suicide bombs. They proceeded to stab civilians and kill eight people in and around the Borough Market area. Police shot all three men dead. ISIS claimed the attack the following day.

Update: 1:04 p.m. ET—Eyewitness accounts are beginning to emerge after the vehicle-ramming attack.

Barcelona resident and American national Keith Fleming told the Associated Press that he heard a noise and went to his balcony to see what happened. He saw “women and children just running, and they looked terrified.”

“It’s just kind of a tense situation.... Clearly, people were scared,” he said.

Update: 12:56 p.m. ET—Local radio station Cadena SER Radio, citing police sources, says that at least 13 people have been killed in the vehicle-ramming attack. Police are yet to confirm this number, having only said that there are dead and injured as a result of the crash.

Spanish police have reconfirmed that they are treating the crash as an extremist attack. 

The White House says that Chief of Staff John Kelly is keeping President Donald Trump informed of the situation in Barcelona. 

Update: 12:46 p.m. ET—The Spanish government ordered train stations around Barcelona closed as the manhunt for the attacker continues.

The U.S. Consulate in Barcelona told Americans to stay clear of the Las Ramblas area while a security operation is underway.

The British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, said that the British Foreign Office is in touch with Spanish authorities, telling British nationals in Barcelona to remain in a safe area.

Update: 12:36 p.m. ET—Two people are dead after the vehicle-ramming attack on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, a regional government source told AFP news agency.

“One of the attackers is holed up in a bar,” said the source.

The number of injured remains unconfirmed, but local media and eyewitnesses have said that the van hit dozens of people.

Catalan police said they have activated the protocols for the aftermath of an attack but could not confirm the motive behind the vehicle-ramming, even though they believe it to be intentional.

Update: 12:26 p.m. ET—Catalan police confirmed that there are dead and injured following the attack on Las Ramblas. They did not provide specific numbers.

They said that there is a manhunt underway for the driver of the van who plowed into dozens of civilians in Barcelona. Local media has said that the attacker is holed up in a bar.

Authorities are yet to confirm this, but footage posted on Twitter showed armed police searching for the attacker in La Boquería food market.

Update: 12:16 p.m. ET—El Paí​s is reporting that the driver of the van has holed himself in a Barcelona bar after plowing into civilians.

El Periódico newspaper reported that two armed men had locked themselves in a bar, and reported gunfire in the area of the La Boquerí​a Market. Police have yet to confirm a standoff with armed men.

While no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, Spain has so far avoided a vehicle-ramming assault directed or inspired by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

But the country still remains at the forefront of counterterrorism in Europe, as it sits in close proximity to North Africa and has the European Union's only territory in North Africa: the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. Spanish authorities in recent years have broken up several cells with Moroccan nationals members or leaders of the networks.

Update: 12:06 p.m. ET—Images published by public broadcaster RTVE showed at least three people lying on the ground after the incident. 

Video footage shot after the vehicle-ramming showed civilians running away from the scene. Many would have been enjoying a summer's day in the middle of the coastal city.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he is in touch with the relevant authorities and that the priority after the incident is to help the injured.

Barcelona emergency services have told anyone in the Plaça Catalunya area to remain where they are and stay inside. 

Police requested that those who are safe in the area use social media to tell their friends and families that they are OK.

Update: 11:56 a.m. ET—Barcelona police have now confirmed that the crash on Las Ramblas is a "terorrist attack."

Local media, cited by Reuters, said that two armed men had barricaded themselves in a restaurant near Las Ramblas.

The incident is ongoing, and the motive for the attack remains unclear. But Las Ramblas is one of the most popular streets in the northern Spanish city, with a wide berth for pedestrians to walk, that allows cars to drive either side.

Eyewitness footage showed police evacuating and cordoning off the Plaça Catalunya area.

Update: 11:46 a.m. ET—Authorities have not confirmed the arrest of the vehicle's driver. Spanish weekly newspaper El Paí​​s, citing a police source, reported that the driver of the van fled the scene on foot.

Spanish daily La Vanguardia reported that the white van hit dozens of people. The number of casualties remains unclear.

Ambulances were on the scene to treat those injured in the crash, and police cordoned off the street and closed its stores. Police reiterated that people should avoid the area and only follow "information from official sources."

Original story:

A van plowed into dozens of pedestrians on the famous Las Ramblas shopping street on Thursday in what Spanish police are calling a "massive crash."

Barcelona emergency services warned the public to stay away from Plaça Catalunya and confirmed a "serious incident."

They said that a white van mounted the sidewalk, striking civilians on the street that is popular with tourists.

Footage circulating on social media showed police sealing off the Plaça Catalunya area. Other images purported to show a white van from the incident, with bodies on the ground.

There is no indication yet that the incident is a radical Islamist attack, but if it is, it would represent Spain's first in over a decade. The deadliest attack in Europe for decades took place in Spain, when an Al Qaeda–inspired cell blew up a Madrid commuter train in 2004, killing 192 people.

Western European countries have suffered a series of vehicle-ramming attacks inspired by the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), the deadliest in the southern French city of Nice, which left 86 people dead. Berlin and London also have been targeted in deadly vehicle assaults.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.