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Two arrested after Barcelona terror attack

Sky News logo Sky News 18-08-2017

Police have arrested at least two suspects after a van was used to kill at least 13 people in a terrorist attack in Barcelona city centre.

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A white van mounted the pavement of Las Ramblas, the main tourist area in the city, and struck dozens of people, police said.

The van who ploughed into the crowd, killing at least 13 people and injuring around 100 others is towed away from the Rambla in Barcelona on August 18, 2017.
A driver deliberately rammed a van into a crowd on Barcelona's most popular street on August 17, 2017 killing at least 13 people before fleeing to a nearby bar, police said. 
Officers in Spain's second-largest city said the ramming on Las Ramblas was a "terrorist attack". The driver of a van that mowed into a packed street in Barcelona is still on the run, Spanish police said. / AFP PHOTO / JAVIER SORIANO        (Photo credit should read JAVIER SORIANO/AFP/Getty Images) Van strikes crowd in Barcelona

Islamic State has said it was responsible for the attack, according to the AMAQ newsagency.

Catalan authorities have confirmed that at least 13 people have died and at least 100 have been injured but said the number of dead could rise.

One social media video post showed bodies strewn across the pavement for several hundred metres along the famous street.

AFP reported that a Belgian was among the dead.

The government of the Spanish autonomous region announced three days of mourning.

A statement put out by the AMAQ news agency said: "The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states."

Police initially said they were looking for a man of 5ft 5ins (1.7m) in height, wearing a white shirt with blue stripes.

The van used in atrocity is said to be a Fiat, that was hired from an address in Santa Perpetua Of the Mogoda, about five miles north of the city.

There was no evidence the person who left the van was armed, Catalonia's interior ministry said.

Police have identified a suspect who they say rented a van, naming him as Driss Oukabir.

A Facebook account says he is from Marseilles and lives in Ripoll, Catalonia, about 50 miles north of Barcelona.

La Vanguadia has reported that the man handed himself in to the police station at Ripoll after he saw his photo in the media, claiming his documentation had been stolen and that he was in Ripoll at the time of the attack.

Two people have been arrested and neither of them is the driver of the van, but the investigation is ongoing.

The two who are being held are a Spanish national from the country's African enclave of Melilla and a Moroccan.

A police official said the van attack is being linked to an explosion in the tourist district of Alcanar in which one person was killed, about 100 miles (160km) southwest of Barcelona.

Security forces have found a second van connected to the attack in the town of Vic, 40 miles from Barcelona, 18 miles south of Ripoll, according to police sources.

Catalan media say they made a second arrest in Manlleu, just north of Vic and about 13 miles south of Ripoll.

Catalan police have confirmed a driver ran into two police officers at a checkpoint in Sant Just Desvern, about five miles west of Las Ramblas, at 7.24pm local time, but it is not known if it is linked to the attack.

Media reports said a white Ford Focus ran over the officers and then was intercepted by police nearly two miles (3km) away.

Catalonia's police force said troopers shot and killed a man who was in the car that hit two officers.

A witness watched as police surrounded a vehicle in Sant Just Desvern and shouted "raise your hands, raise your hands", before he heard one or two shots, according to another report in La Vanguadia.

Carlos Mauri, resident on the eighth floor of a building overlooking where a vehicle was parked, told the newspaper: "Suddenly I heard screams. I thought it was a fight and I went out on the balcony.There was a lot of police and they were shouting to the man of the vehicle."

He said afterwards a robot was dispatched to help examine the vehicle.

The bomb squad are now checking an area in the Barcelona outskirts near where the driver of a car that struck two police officers was found.

Numerous people were trapped in shops after being told to hide but have since been evacuated.

Metro and train stations have been closed and a large area has been cordoned off.

Barcelona mayor Ada Colau says will hold a minute's silence tomorrow at midday at Placa Catalunya.

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy Brey said on Twitter: "To all administrations: the priority is to treat the wounded and aid the work of the security forces."

The Foreign Office released a statement saying: "The British Embassy in Madrid and Consulate General in Barcelona are in contact with local authorities and urgently seeking further information following reports of an incident in central Barcelona.

"Local authorities have advised people to stay inside and stay away from the Las Ramblas area of the city. If you're in the immediate area you should take care and follow the advice of the local security authorities."

A White House spokesman said Donald Trump's chief of staff is "keeping abreast of the situation" and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US stands ready to act.

:: Catalonia's interior ministry has provided a number for anyone worried about relatives, advising people to call +34 900400012.

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