Terror attack in Barcelona leaves 2 dead, 20 more injured

Terror attack in Barcelona leaves 2 dead, 20 more injured 1
Terror attack in Barcelona leaves 2 dead, 20 more injured 1
Posted at 12:57 PM, Aug 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-17 23:36:33-04

(RNN) - A van ran over several people in Las Ramblas, a promenade in Barcelona and a large tourist attraction.

Local news outlets are reporting two dead, according to Sky News. Barcelona Police said 20 more people are injured.

CNN reported that two armed men fled, leaving a rented white van at the scene. They ran into a nearby restaurant, where witnesses said they heard gunfire.

The Associated Press reports the two men are "holed up in a bar."

According to El Pais in Spain, authorities are treating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Spanish police called the incident a "massive crash," and urge people to stay away from the are around Placa Catalunya, one of the most visited sites in Barcelona. 

Downtown areas have been evacuated.

At least a dozen emergency response teams are treating the injured. Reports on social media show many people on the ground.

Las Ramblas is a pedestrian mall that stretches about 3/4 of a mile through the city, connecting Placa de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell on the Mediterranean.

A 20-year-old student who lives in Barcelona told the BBC, "There was a loud noise and everybody ran for cover. There were a lot of people, lots of families (at the site)... I think several people were hit. It was horrible. There was panic. Terrible."

People are sheltering in nearby cafes and shops. Esparcia said he was taking cover inside a Starbucks.

Vehicle attacks in 2017

The attack is the latest in a series of attackers using vehicles as a weapon in 2017. On Jan. 8, an Arab citizen of Israel truck ran into soldiers in south east Jerusalem, killing one male and three female soldiers. Fifteen others were killed.

A hijacked truck plowed over pedestrians before crashing into a department store in Stockholm, Sweden on April 7. Five people were killed, 14 injured. Swedish police said the attacker was a rejected asylum seeker from Uzbekistan and sympathized with the Islamic State.

London has had three vehicle-related terror attacks this year.

  • On March 22, an attacker drove over pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, turning in front of Parliament where he stabbed a police officer before he was shot and killed. The attack was apparently in retaliation for the West’s military presence in Muslim countries.
  • A couple of months later on June 3, three men drove over pedestrians on the London Bridge before running into a restaurant area and stabbing people. Eight people were killed, 48 were injured. Police said the attackers were Islamic State sympathizers.
  • On June 19, a van driven by Darren Osborne rammed pedestrians near the Finsbury Park Mosque during Ramadan. One was killed, 10 were injured. Osborne said the attack was retribution for London Bridge.

In Paris, also on June 19, a car containing guns and explosives rammed a police vehicle on the Champs-Elysees. The driver named Djaziri Adam Lofti, who pledged his support to the Islamic State was killed by police

On Aug. 9 in in Levallois-Perret, a suburb of Paris, a car rammed a group of soldiers injuring six. French police caught the assailant on a highway a few hours later.

James Fields is charged with ramming his Dodge Charger into other cars and plowing over people who were protesting white supremacists. One woman, Heather Heyer, was killed, 20 others were injured.

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