A rented van crashed into a throng of people at the Las Ramblas tourist area in Barcelona, Spain. At least 13 are dead, with more than 30 injured, of which a dozen are in critical condition. The driver of the vehicle fled the scene on foot. The suspected driver is twenty-year-old Detenido “Driss” Oukabir.
Barcelona officials are treating the event as a terrorist attack and have taken security measures to lock down the area:
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 remain clear of the Las Ramblas area as a security operation remains underway.
One eyewitness, Ethan Spibey, described the scene:
All of sudden it was real chaos. People just started running screaming, there were loud bangs. People just started running into shops, there was a kind of mini-stampede where we were, down one of the alleyways.
They’ve locked the doors because I’m not sure whether the person who may have done it has actually been caught, so they’ve locked the doors and told people just to wait in here.
Spibey sought refuge inside a church with other civilians, locked the doors, and waited for authorities to clear the area.
The fear and chaos at the scene generated conflicting reports – some claim the driver has ‘holed’ up in a bar, others say that two armed men took hostages inside a bar and have exchanged gunfire with police. Although unconfirmed, authorities are in search of a second van that may have participated in the attack.
Since 2016, Europe has borne the brunt of vehicle assaults in crowded environments, soft targets, with over 100 people murdered in Nice, Berlin, London, and Stockholm.