13 Dead In Barcelona Terror Attack; Police Later Kill 5 Suspected Terrorists In Cambrils To South

Attack In Cambrils Reportedly Stopped With Shootout; 5 Killed By Police

BARCELONA, Spain (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — A white van crashed into a crowd on a sidewalk in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district Thursday in what police are calling a “terrorist attack,” killing at least 13 people and injuring at least 100 others.

Later Thursday, Spanish police said they killed five people south of Barcelona in Cambrils, according to AP.


The regional police for the Catalonia region said on Twitter early Friday that officers were in Cambrils, a seaside resort town 62 miles from Barcelona.

According to BBC News, police said they stopped a second alleged terror plot. Emergency officials say six civilians and one police officer was injured.

Police later said the Cambrils suspects were carrying bomb belts and had already run over civilians with a car.

Authorities called on people in the town not to go out on the streets, although they said the situation was under control.

Spain’s public broadcaster, RTVE, is reporting the suspects may have carried suicide explosive belts.

Police said that a bomb squad in Cambrils would carry out several controlled explosions, Reuters news agency reports.

The broadcaster says police suspected they were planning an attack in Cambrils just hours after the van swerved onto the pedestrian promenade in Barcelona in the earlier deadly attack.

In the earlier attack, 15 of the victims were seriously injured, another 23 were moderately wounded and 42 others were being treated for slight injuries. They are all being cared for at various hospitals.

One Australian women, from New South Wales, is in the hospital in a “serious but stable condition,” according Australian foreign minister Julie Bishop.

Victims were left sprawled in the street, spattered with blood or crippled by broken limbs. Others fled in panic, screaming or carrying young children in their arms.

Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, told Barcelona broadcaster TV3: “Our priority is to save lives. And our second priority is the police investigation, to find the people responsible of this attack and anyone who has helped them directly or indirectly.”

Authorities said a Belgian was among the dead and a Greek woman was among the injured. Germany’s Foreign Ministry said it was checking reports that Germans were among the victims.

However, at least three German citizens were among those who died, according to a report by broadcaster ZDF which cited security sources.

According to Puigdemont, two suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack. Police say one suspect is a Spanish national from Melilla and the other is Moroccan, as CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported. Neither of the suspects drove the van. Police said the driver is still on the run.

According to police, the van attack is “connected” to an explosion that occurred Wednesday night in a town south of the city in which one person died and injured several more.

“Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise,” Catalan Interior Minister official Joaquim Forn said at a news conference earlier Thursday.

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Amaq News issued a statement on it’s telegram channel that reads in part: “A security source to Amaq agency: The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS). They carried out the attack in response to the calls to target coalition countries.”

“We know that ISIS has claimed responsibility. It’s not official yet, and you know, all the indicators are that it’s an ISIS type operation. But until it’s official, we can’t really say that,” U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) told CBS2 late Thursday afternoon. “But there’s no doubt this has all the earmarks; all the hallmarks of an ISIS terror, Islamist terror operation.”

On Twitter, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he is in contact with authorities and the priority is to attend to the injured.

Rajoy announced that Thursday’s incident was “jihadist terrorism,” the Reuters news agency says.

“Today the fight against terrorism is the principal priority for free and open societies like ours. It is a global threat and the response has to be global,” Rajoy told a news conference in Barcelona.

The attack happened Thursday afternoon when the van jumped a sidewalk and slammed into pedestrians. Witnesses described what they saw.

PHOTOS: Barcelona Terror Attack

“I saw women and children just running and they looked terrified,” said Keith Fleming, an American who lives in Barcelona.

“We saw everything,” Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja, said. “People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside.”

In a photograph shown by RTVE, at least five people were lying on the ground in the street Thursday afternoon and were apparently being helped by police and others. Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.

“In a split second it became absolute pandemonium,” said witness Julia Monaco. “Everyone started running for their lives.”

“I counted six or eight bodies within a block and a half before they made us go back to our room,” another witness said. “I saw a child who was blood soaked.”

Witnesses said the van made it seven city blocks before the driver ran away on foot.

Crowds ran from the Las Ramblas area as police went door-to-door searching for the driver.

A CBS employee happened to be on a tour in the area and described the scene.

“A lot of people just screaming, running away from Las Ramblas toward where we were, saying that the cops told everybody to move away,” the employee said.

After several hours, police had two suspects under arrest.

Reuters reports two armed men reportedly entered a restaurant following the crash. Police say they have located a second van connected to the attack in the town of Vic.

Spain’s El Pais newspaper, citing police sources, says perpetrators of the van incident were holed up in a bar. Armed police ran down the streets and through a market, checking in stores and cafes, presumably in search of them.

On Twitter, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he is in contact with authorities and the priority is to attend to the injured.

Barcelona’s TV3 reports police surrounded a bar called Rey de Istanbul. A man thought to be the driver of a van was surrounded by police. The Spanish passport of a person of Moroccan origin was found at the scene of the attack.

The police force for Spain’s Catalonia region also said troopers shot and killed a man who was in a car that hit two officers at a traffic blockade in Barcelona. The Mossos d’Esquadra force did not indicate if the incident was related to the van attack in the city’s Las Ramblas district on Thursday.

Police say a bomb squad is checking an area in the outskirts of Barcelona, near the site where the driver of car struck police officers.

Local media reports say a white Ford Focus ran over the officers and then was intercepted by police 1.9 miles away. That’s where troopers shot one man dead.

Three days of mourning have been declared in response to the attack. A minute of silence will be held Friday in main square “to show that we are not scared,” Barcelona’s mayor, Ada Colau, said.

Catalan Emergency Services asked authorities to close train stations in the area close to the crash site.

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrianized path in the center of the street, but cars can travel on either side.

Authorities are asking people not to go near the area.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump tweeted about the attack from his New Jersey golf club, where he is on a working vacation.

“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 president wrote.

First Lady Melania Trump tweeted: “Thoughts and prayers to #Barcelona.”

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Vice President Mike Pence also spoke out about the attack Thursday afternoon.

“Terrorists around the world should know the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice,” Tillerson said.

“The latest scenes of carnage and mayhem sicken us all and, as the president said earlier today, the United States condemns this terrorist attack and we will do whatever is necessary to help,” Pence said.

While there are no specific threats to New York City, the NYPD said it is closely monitoring the situation and “redeploying assets accordingly.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio also tweeted: “Our thoughts are with the people of Barcelona right now.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a statement saying, “This cowardly and senseless attack is sickening and goes against everything we believe. Those who seek to reap fear and hate will never succeed. New York stands in solidarity with the people of Spain – as they have done for us. The safety and security of New Yorkers is our top priority. We are in close contact with federal and local officials, and we will remain vigilant. I have directed state law enforcement officials to step up security and patrols at high-profile locations across New York, including our airports, bridges, tunnels and mass transit systems.”

Spain’s royal palace has condemned the attack, calling the perpetrators “assassins, simply criminals who will not terrorize us.” The royal palace’s statement, which was posted on Twitter, said that “All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will once again be for all.”

Other world leaders — including British Prime Minister Theresa May, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron — have condemned the attack.

Vatican spokesperson Greg Burke says Pope Francis is praying for the victims and expressing his closeness to their families. The Argentine pope was “greatly worried” about the attack and is following developments closely. The Vatican has greatly increased security for Francis’ public events to prevent similar truck assaults on crowds that throng to his weekly audiences and Sunday blessings in St. Peter’s Square.

Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.

Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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