Van plows into dozens of people in Barcelona terror attack

Van plows into dozens of people in Barcelona terror attack

Thirteen people were reported killed when a van jumped the sidewalk and crashed into dozens of people in Barcelona's central Las Ramblas district on Thursday. 

The attack took place at Plaça Catalunya, a busy tourist area.

An injured person is treated in Barcelona after a van plowed into pedestrians in the city center, August 17, 2017.An injured person is treated in Barcelona after a van plowed into pedestrians in the city center, August 17, 2017.Oriol Duran/AP

Reports said initially that the driver of the van fled on foot, yet local media later quoted police sources as saying the perpetrators were barricading themselves in a bar. El Pais said several people were left lying on the ground. 

Police cordoned off the street and shut down nearby metro stations, asking people not go to the area around Plaça Catalunya.

Policemen stand next to vehicles in a cordoned-off area after a van plowed into the crowd in Barcelona, August 17, 2017.Policemen stand next to vehicles in a cordoned-off area after a van plowed into the crowd in Barcelona, August 17, 2017.JOSEP LAGO/AFP

Two armed men entered a restaurant in Barcelona after the crash, local media reported.

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.

While full details of the incident were not immediately clear, since July 2016 vehicles have been used to ram into crowds in a series of militant attacks across Europe, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.

In recent weeks, threatening graffiti against tourists has appeared in Barcelona, which draws at least 11 million visitors a year.

In one video released under the slogan "tourism kills neighborhoods," several hooded individuals stopped a tourist bus in Barcelona, slashed the tires and spray-painted the windscreen. 

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