Barcelona attack: Five terror suspects 'wearing suicide vests' shot dead in Cambrils after van crashes into crowd at Las Ramblas, killing 13

Barney Henderson

Terror returned to the streets of Europe on Thursday when a van ploughed into a crowd of people in Barcelona, killing at least 13 and injuring more than 100 others.

Footage of the scene showed dozens of bodies sprawled across the pavement in Las Ramblas, a street popular with tourists. Two men, one Spanish and one Moroccan, were arrested but police said the driver of the van was still at large. 

In the early hours of Friday morning, in the town of Cambrils, 70 miles away,  at least six people were hurt when "alleged terrorists" drove into pedestrians before being shot dead by security forces.

The five attackers in the Audi A3, who were wearing bomb belts, were shot dead, police said. The bomb belts were detonated by the force's bomb squad.

Two of the injured in Cambrils were in critical condition, emergency services said. Police say the attacks were linked.

Spanish policemen patrol the street after five suspected terrorists were killed by the police in Cambrils Credit: EPA

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack as Joaquim Forn, Catalonia’s police chief, warned: “Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise.”

On Thursday night it was confirmed that a three-year-old child was among the victims and 15 people people were in a critical condition.

Liam Searle, 22, from Chichester, West Sussex, said he was skateboarding along the road at around 5.15pm with his headphones on when he heard “massive bangs and thuds” which he thought were gunshots. 

“I realised it was the van next to me hitting people.” he said. “The van had stopped right next to me. That’s when two men got out and I ran for my life.”

A handout photo made available by Spanish National Police shows Driss Oukabir, alleged to have rented the van which was used to crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas Credit: Spanish National Police/ HANDOUT

Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old of Moroccan origin, was suspected of having rented the van used in the assault. Spanish reports later said he had handed himself in to police, who were investigating whether his brother had stolen his documentation.

Two explosions at a house in the town of Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, on Wednesday night were last night linked by police to the attack. Officers said the residents had been preparing explosives. At least one person died and more than 16 were injured in what was initially thought to be a gas explosion.  

Theresa May, the Prime Minister, condemned the “terrible” Las Ramblas assault and said Britain stood firmly with Spain against terrorism.  

Pictured: the van reportedly used in the attack

Donald Trump, the US president, tweeted that the US “will do whatever is necessary to help”, adding: “Be tough & strong, we love you!.”   The Spanish royal family described the attackers as “assassins, criminals who won’t terrorise us”, while Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, said the attack was “jihadist terrorism” requiring a global response.

Barcelona terror attack, in pictures

This was the eighth terror attack using a vehicle in Europe in the past three years, following the Nice assault in July 2016 that killed 86 and attacks on Westminster Bridge and London Bridge earlier this year that left four and eight people dead. 

Mapped: Barcelona van attack

Earlier this year, jihadists warned that they would be seeking to take their campaign of death and destruction to popular areas in the Mediterranean.

The CIA warned Spanish police two months ago that Las Ramblas was a potential target, reports said.  


Nationalities of victims

The injured and dead came from 24 different countries, the Catalan government said on Friday in a statement, ranging from France and Germany to Pakistan and the Philippines.

Belgium said one of its citizens had died in the Las Ramblas assault, while The Hague said three Dutch were injured and a Greek diplomat reported three nationals had been wounded - a woman and her two children.

In Australia, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop confirmed that four Australians had been hurt in the attack, while one person is missing.


'Search for more vans'

The New York Times reports that three vans had been rented under Driss Oukabar's name. 

Barcelona police were frantically searching for the two other vans, combing the streets and underground parking garages, a national police official told the paper. 

It is not known if one of the vans was used in the Cambrils attack. 

A counterterrorism expert, who was briefed on the details of the investigation, told the Times the police believed the plot initially involved the use of explosives and a large truck.

“Part of the plan was they tried to rent a larger truck, but they didn’t have the right permit and so they ended up getting” smaller vans, said the expert.

The house in Alcanar which was destroyed by an explosion Credit: EPA

He added that the building in Alcanar where the explosion occurred had been packed with gas canisters, as well as other materials used to make explosives.


'There is a connection'

The Catalan government says the attack in Cambrils is linked to the vehicle attack in Barcelona.

The region's Interior Minister Joaquin Forn has told local radio RAC1 the Cambrils attack "follows the same trail. There is a connection."

He did not explain what connected the attacks. He confirmed the driver in the Barcelona attack remains at large.

Police earlier said two people who have been arrested were not the driver. 


Five terrorists were wearing bomb belts, police say

More details are coming in regarding the attack in Cambrils.

Police say the seven people were hurt when five "alleged terrorists" drove into pedestrians in the Spanish seaside resort before being shot dead by security forces.

The five attackers in the Audi A3, who were wearing bomb belts, were shot dead, police added. The bomb belts, were detonated by the force's bomb squad.

One of the injured in Cambrils is in critical condition, emergency services said.

"The alleged terrorists were in an Audi A3 and apparently knocked down several people before coming across a police patrol and a shoot-out ensued," said a spokesman for the regional government of Catalonia, where Cambrils is located in Spain's northeast.

In #Cambrils police operation underway possibly linked to the attack in #Barcelona. Ppl told to get off the streets.

— Kevin Rincon (@KevRincon) August 17, 2017

Markel Artabe, a 20-year-old restaurant worker, said he was on the seaside promenade when he heard what he initially thought were fireworks, but soon realised were gunshots.

He said he saw someone lying on the ground "with a gunshot in the head". The victim's friends were crying out "help", he added.

Joan Marc Serra Salinas, a 21-year-old waiter, said he heard many gunshots.

"And shouting. And more shouting. I jumped onto the beach and didn't move," he said.

Police said they were "working on the hypothesis that the terrorists shot dead in Cambrils could be linked to what happened in Barcelona".


Scene in Cambrils

Spanish Policemen inspect a car in Cambrils Credit: EPA
Five suspects were killed in Cambrils Credit: EPA


Fifth suspect dies in Cambrils

The police force for Spain's Catalonia region says the fifth suspect shot in the resort town of Cambrils has died and six civilians have been injured.

Police had earlier said four suspects had been killed in the town south of Barcelona during a police operation to "respond to a terrorist attack."

The confrontation came about eight hours after the Barcelona attack. 

The regional police said they cannot say how the six civilians were injured at the moment.

They earlier tweeted that they are investigating whether the Cambrils suspects were wearing explosive vests. Its officers planned to carry out several controlled explosions.

The force says it is working on the theory that the Cambrils suspects were linked to the Barcelona attack, as well as to a Wednesday night explosion in the town of Alcanar in which one person was killed.


New York lights up

In other tributes, the Empire State building and the World Trade Center in New York lit up in Catalan and Spanish colours.


Eiffel Tower turns off lights in tribute



Cambrils terror suspects 'had attempted to carry out a similar attack to that in Barcelona'

RTVE reported that the suspects had attempted to carry out a similar attack to that in Barcelona by driving a van at pedestrians.

The broadcaster said seven people were injured, including two seriously.


Suspected attackers killed in Cambrils

Spanish police have killed several people in a coastal town south of Barcelona in response to a terrorist attack.

Reports of an operation by security services in Cambrils emerged shortly after 1am local time, some eight hours after a van driver killed 13 people and injured more than 100 in a terrorist attack in Barcelona.

Bystanders could be seen running for cover and several gunshots heard in footage posted on social media that appeared to have been filmed on the town's beachfront promenade.



'Possible terror attack in Cambrils'

Police say they are dealing with a "possible terror attack" in Cambrils.

Local media report that three people have been killed in a police shootout.


Operation underway in Cambrils

A police operation is underway in the town of Cambrils, 70 miles south of Barcelona.

The 112 Catalonia emergency service tweeted: "IF YOU'RE NOW IN £Cambrils avoid going out. Stay home, stay safe. Police operation ongoing."



Spanish PM says Barcelona van attack result of 'jihadist terrorism'

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said the van attack in Barcelona that has killed at least 13 people was "jihadist terrorism" which required a global response.

"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.

He said he would call on other Spanish political parties to reaffirm the country's anti-terrorism pact.


Explosion on Wednesday in Alcanar linked to Las Ramblas attack

Spanish newspaper El Pais reported that an explosion on Wednesday night in Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, is now believed to be connected to Thursday's attack.

At the time police thought it was a gas explosion. The house was destroyed, with six people injured and one dead.

Inside the house, which police believe was occupied for a few months, they found around 20 canisters of butane and propane gas.

General view of the debris of a house after it completely collapsed after a gas leak explosion in a real state in the village of Alcanar, Catalonia, northeastern Spain, 17 August 2017 Credit: EPA/JAUME SELLART

A woman was found dead inside and a man, discovered among the rubble, was taken to hospital in a critical condition.

The explosion could be heard for several miles.


Police: driver of van not among the two arrested suspects

Police have said that neither of the two detained suspects was the driver.

Josep Lluis Trapero, a senior police officer, said the two suspects in custody were directly linked to the attack, "but that doesn't mean that either were the author of the attack".

The wereabouts of the driver was unclear last night.

The two suspects in custody in the Barcelona van attack are a Spanish national from Melilla and a Moroccan. 


Theresa May full statement

The Prime Minister has given a longer statement:

I am sickened by the senseless loss of life in Barcelona today.

The Foreign Office is working to establish if any British nationals were involved in this appalling incident and we are in close contact with the authorities in Spain, who have our full support.

Following the attacks in Manchester and London, Spain stood alongside the British people. Tonight, Britain stands with Spain against the evil of terrorism.


CIA 'warned Spanish authorities two months ago Las Ramblas was a terriortarget'

The CIA warned Spanish police two months ago that Las Ramblas in particular was a terror target, reports said.


Oukabir 'denies involvement in Las Ramblas attack'

A local newspaper in Catalonia, El Nacional, reported that Oukabir told police in Ripoll that he had nothing to do with the Barcelona attack.

He said that his documents had been stolen and used to hire the car, sources told the paper.

Jordi Munell, mayor of Ripoll, confirmed that Oukabir had denied any involvement in the attack.

The Mossos d'Esquadra, the Catalan police force, said they were looking into the report and not confirm or deny it.


Man who drove at police officers at checkpoint shot dead

The police force for Spain's Catalonia region says troopers have 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 .

Local media reports say a white Ford Focus ran over the officers and then was intercepted by police 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) away.

That's where troopers shot one man dead.


Islamic State claims responsibility

The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack, according to a statement from its Amaq "news agency".


Death toll 12 - 80 people hospitalised

Catalonia's regional president says 12 dead and 80 victims hospitalised in Barcelona van attack. 


Two arrests made after attack

Catalonia's regional president says there have been two arrests after the Barcelona van attack. 

Separately local reports said a suspect had been shot dead by police.

It remains unclear how many people were involved in the attack.


Spain's royals condemn the 'assassins, simply criminals who will not terrorise us'

Spain's royal palace has condemned the deadly van attack in Barcelona, calling the perpetrators "assassins, simply criminals who will not terrorise us."

The royal palace's statement, which was posted on Twitter, also said that "All of Spain is Barcelona. Las Ramblas will once again be for all."


Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy heads to Barcelona to coordinate security response

Mr Rajoy said that "the terrorists will never destroy a united people who love liberty over barbarism. All of Spain is with the victims and families."


Former Holby City star hid in restaurant freezer during attack

Laila Rouass, the former Holby City actress and wife of snooker star Ronnie O'Sullivan, hid in a restaurant freezer during the attack.

Ronnie O'Sullivan receiving an O.B.E. in 2016 pictured with his mother Maria O'Sullivan (right) and partner Laila Rouass (left) Credit: JULIAN SIMMONDS



'Suspected attacker killed in shootout with police' -local media reports

One of the suspected attackers involved in mowing down people in Barcelona has been killed in a shootout with police on the outskirts of the city, La Vanguardia newspaper reported.

Police earlier confirmed they had arrested a man in connection with the attack.

It was not immediately clear how many attackers were involved in the incident


Angela Merkel condemns 'revolting attack'

The office of German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday condemned the "revolting attack" in Barcelona.

"We are thinking with profound sadness of the victims of the revolting attack in Barcelona - with solidarity and frienship alongside the Spanish people," tweeted spokesman Steffen Seibert.


Macron vows solidarity with Spain

French President Emmanuel Macron voiced solidarity with Spain.

"We remain united and determined," Macron said on Twitter, describing it as a "tragic attack" and saying his thoughts were with the victims.


Briton caught up in Barcelona attack talks of her 'unbridled fear'

Susan Maclean, who is on holiday in Barcelona with her husband, said she was "very lucky" to have avoided the van as it ploughed through the crowds.

She told Channel 4 News: "All of a sudden, there was this screaming and hordes of people, like a tidal wave of people, fear etched in their faces, running towards us, many of them yelling in Spanish.

"We had no idea what was going on. My first thought was this is a terrorist attack."

She said she felt "unbridled fear" during the incident where she was barricaded into a nearby shop for safety.

Ms Maclean said: "It was very difficult to know what was going on.

"People were shouting. We could hear the word 'shooting, shooting'. We weren't really sure whether that was shooting as in the English or a Spanish word so it was just unbridled fear."


Theresa May: 'UK stands with Spain against terror'

Britain "stands with Spain against terror", Prime Minister Theresa May said following the deadly attack.

"My thoughts are with the victims of today's terrible attack in Barcelona and the emergency services responding to this ongoing incident. The UK stands with Spain against terror," the prime minister wrote on Twitter.


Donald Trump: we'll do whatever is necessary to help



Melania Trump send her thoughts and prayers

The US first lady tweeted:



Suspect arrested

Spanish public broadcaster RTVE says one suspect in the Barcelona van attack has been arrested. 


Passport 'found at scene'

Barcelona's Tv3 reports that the Spanish passport of a person of Moroccan origin was found at the scene of the attack.


Second van 'found by police'

Reuters, citing local authorities, reports that a second van has been found by police in the town of Vic, north of Barcelona.


Jeremy Corbyn tweets his support



London stands with Barcelona

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has tweeted:



'There was a mini stampede' 

Ethan Spibey, a charity director on holiday in the city, said he had taken shelter in a nearby church with several others after Thursday's van ramming.

"All of a sudden it was real kind of chaos... people just started running screaming," he told Sky. "There was kind of a mini stampede.

"It seems like a lot of people have taken refuge in shops and local cafes."

A woman cries as she phones after a van ploughed into the crowd, killing one person and injuring several others on the Rambla in Barcelona Credit:  AFP/Getty Images

A video circulating on social media showed at least 19 people lying injured on the pavement down the centre of Las Ramblas.

Many victims can be seen bleeding, some heavily, while being tended to by passersby.

Souvenirs are strewn across the path, having apparently been knocked over in the chaos.

Armed police are visible in the background.


One death confirmed by police

A police official in Barcelona has said that one death has been confirmed, and 32 others have been injured in the van attack, ten of which are seriously injured. 

At least 56 people have been taken to hospitals across the city, according to local newspaper La Vanguardia. 



Van 'was going very fast, without caring about who was in its way'

TV3 says it now has official confirmation that thirteen people are dead. It also says there are dozens of injured.

Eyewitness Lourdes Porcar told TV3 television station that she saw the van running people over. “It was going very fast, without caring about who was in its way,” she said.

Police have set up roadblocks around the city amid reports that a second van was involved in the attack and fled the scene.

Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain

There are also reports that at least on attacker is holed up in a Turkish restaurant on Carrer Hospital, which leads off from the spot in which the van appears to have come to a halt.

Television pictures show that a van came to a halt on top of a Joan Miro mosaic, half-way down Las Ramblas - meaning that it would have covered more than 500 metres.


Las Ramblas potentially deadliest attack since 2004 bombing

The deadliest recent attack in Spain was in March 2004, when Islamist militants placed bombs on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1,800.



Death toll 'could be as high as 13'

Reuters reports that at least 13 people have been killed in the attack, citing local media. 


President has been informed, says White House

The White House's chief of staff said it was keeping President Trump closely informed about the situation.


'Second van' linked to attack

Police are looking for a second van that may have been involved in the attack, Sky News reports


Tourists speak of shock 

Police stationed at the cordon a block away from Plaza Catalunya, on Passeig de Gracia, say they have no information what is happening inside. Confused tourists, shoppers and business owners gathered at its edges, awaiting some word or direction as to what to do. 

Ines Prauka, a 49 year old tourist from Berlin arrived with her 14 year old daughter Adel for a one week holiday just an hour or two before the attack.

Injured people are treated by emergency services at the scene

They had just checked in to an apartment at the top of the Ramblas and come out in search of a supermarket to find pandemonium on the street.

"Everybody was running and panicking and crying," she said. Ambulances arrived and police told them to run away, but they did not understand as the orders came in Spanish, she said, and had to ask. 

Ms Prauka was clearly in shock and struggled to speak at times. "It's unbelievable. Two hours in Barcelona and this. We are shocked.

Policemen accompany an elderly woman near a cordoned off area Credit:  PAU BARRENA

"It's the first time we've been in a situation of everyone crying and panicking around us, we didn't know if it was terrorism, a bomb."

Berlin had been touched by terrorism but they had never experienced it personally, she said, adding that she did not know where to take her daughter now. 

"A one week summer holiday in Barcelona and that was the start," she said.



Barcelona police to hold press conference

Local police are expected to begin a press conference in around ten minutes. Stay with us for the latest updates. 


'There was panic everywhere," says eyewitness

Daksha Dixit, a 28 year old tourist visiting from Mumbai with family, said they had been on a tourist bus which had just dropped them off one block from Plaza Cataluña when they heard the news.

"We got off and people were panicking, no one knew what was going on. There was panic everywhere."

An injured person is carried in Barcelona, Spain Credit:  Oriol Duran/AP

The family arrived just yesterday for a one week trip and their hotel is on the Ramblas inside the cordon.

They were unclear as to what exactly was unfolding, with Miss Dixit adding: "I don't know what to do".


Attacker used rented van

Catalan police say they are treating the crash as a suspected terrorist attack but cannot yet confirm the motive. 

It has also been reported that the attack vehicle was a rented van.  That would suggest, if this is confirmed as a terrorist attack, that same terrorists are imitating the perpetrators of the London Bridge attack, where a rented van was also used. 

Injured people react after a van crashed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas, downtown Barcelona,



'We heard gunshots...there was screaming and shouting' 

Steve Garrett was in a nearby market and sheltered in a bakery with several others after streams of people ran inside.

One member of the group, who took refuge with him, said she had heard gunshots after the incident.

Armed police officers patrol an empty street after a van crashed into pedestrians near the Las Ramblas avenue in central Barcelona Credit:  REUTERS

Mr Garrett told the BBC: "A very large number of people ran into the market area in a big kind of way, lots of screaming, lots of shouting.

"The security guards immediately responded. We ran into the bakery with four or five other people and ran straight upstairs and hunkered down whilst an enormous wave of people went through the market.

An armed policeman arrives in a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla

"Obviously coming from England it was reminding me a great deal of what happened in London, so we were very concerned about what might be going on next.

Police speak to an injured person at the scene. Local media report the van driver ran away

"The lady that was with us said she heard some gunshots."

Mr Garrett said a "second wave" of people then entered the market, followed by armed police.

 Screengrab taken with permission from video posted on twitter by @pawilerma of the scene in Las Ramblas

He said: "They seemed to sweep through the market area. They seemed to be looking for someone. They were going very carefully, very cautiously, stall to stall."

Jordi Lino was on a bus going down the Ramblas when he saw the attack: "First I saw people running and then the van. There were injured people in the middle of the Ramblas."


Footage appears to show crash vehicle



Confusion and panic in Las Ramblas

Telegraph reporter Hannah Strange has arrived at Las Ramblas, where she says there is a very heavy police presence,  confusion, and helicopters flying overhead. 

Local media is reporting is that several people have died.  

The Spanish newspaper El Pais quoted unnamed police sources as saying the perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. There was no immediate police confirmation of the report.

Inside the glossy stores of Passeig de Gracia, shoppers and staff sheltered behind glass windows. Many streamed away from the cordon but others stayed on the street in an eerie limbo, the ambulances racing past the only clue as to the status of the situation.  


Armed police pictured at scene



Restaurant hostage situation is ongoing

Two armed men have entrenched themselves in a Turkish bar and restaurant in Barcelona's city centre after a van mowed down dozens of people, El Periodico newspaper reported on Wednesday.

El Periodico reported gunfire in the area of La Boqueria Market, although it did not cite the source of the information.

It was not immediately clear that the men were the drivers of the van. 


Several bodies lay in street in aftermath of attack

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others.

Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled.

A police officer cordon off a street in Barcelona, Spain

Police cordoned off the broad, popular street, ordering stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.


'It was chaos...everyone was in panic mode'

Aamer Anwar was walking down Las Ramblas at the time, which he said was "jam-packed" with tourists.

He told Sky News: "All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.

"Police were very, very quickly there, police officers with guns, batons, everywhere. Then the whole street started getting pushed back."

Panicked onlookers at the scene of the attack

Mr Anwar described the scene as "chaos", with everyone in "panic mode".

He added: "Police officers who got there just started screaming at people to move back, move back.

"One of the shopkeepers tried to speak to him. He said he saw five or six people seriously injured on the ground, a van had driven into people.

"And literally within probably 30 seconds, police vans, ambulances, police officers with guns, were piling out and we were being sectioned off and then being pushed rapidly back down Ramblas."


Eyewitness: It was terriyfying

One witness told Sky News: "It was quite terrifying. All of a sudden scores of people ran towards us, hysterical, children hysterical... first of all they said someone had been shot.

"All of a sudden a second wave of people came down the street, we just ran, I lost my husband in the melee. The shops went into lockdown mode."

She added: "We really had no idea what was going on other than that we needed to get ourselves out of there very quickly... there was just hundreds of people running away very quickly." 

Police at the scene of the crash

Another said: "We were just told to run, it must have been quite close because... there was an immediate stampede to run away. We were just a minute away from it."


Local media: Armed men have entered a restaurant

Spanish media is now reporting that armed men entered a restaurant shortly after the attack took place. 


Emergency services  - close nearby train and metro stations

Catalan emergency services have asked that nearby metro stations be closed. Here are some images of the scene. 

A policeman stands next to an ambulance after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons



Suspected driver 'fled on foot'

The suspected driver has fled the vehicle, according to local police. It remains unclear whether the crash is terror-related. 


Reports suggest the crash happened outside a Kosher restaurant



Several victims treated on the ground

In a photograph shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street and were apparently being helped by police and others.

Police cordoned off the broad street and shut down its stores 


The scene in La Rambla

The scene in La Rambla



Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas is an iconic avenue in the centre of Barcelona, visited by millions of tourists every year


Area evacuated

The local police force was said to be evacuating the area including the nearby main square the Plaza de Catalunya. Shops have put up their shutters with shoppers inside, newspaper La Vanguardia reported.