At least 14 people are dead after a van collided with pedestrians in a crowded area of Barcelona, Spain on Thursday.
According to police, 14 people were killed and as many as 80 were injured when the car struck people walking in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas district, a popular tourist area. Local police said of those injured, at least 15 were in critical condition. While details about the incident are still unfolding, officials said the event had been confirmed as an extremist attack.
“We confirm the terrorist attack,” a Twitter account for Catalan police wrote in Spanish. “The protocol for terrorist attacks has been activated.”
Es confirma atemptat terrorista. S'ha activat el protocol d'atemptat terrorista
— Mossos (@mossos) August 17, 2017
Police said that the driver of the van fled the scene on foot after striking multiple pedestrians and that authorities were still searching for him. Another man was later taken into custody in connection with the attack. According to local reports, he has been identified as Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old man. A second, unnamed man was also in custody. Oukabir’s brother, Moussa Oubakir, 18, was suspected to have been the driver.
On Friday, authorities stated that they had arrested a third man in connection to the attack.
Authorities also shot and killed five suspects in the seaside town of Cambrils a short while later. The men, who were reportedly wearing masks and suicide belts, also rammed into a crowd with their car, killing one woman.
The U.S. consulate in Barcelona issued a warning to Americans in the city advising them to avoid the Las Ramblas area.
We are aware of a reported incident at Las Ramblas in Barcelona. Please avoid the area and monitor local police @mossos for updates.
— USConsulateBarcelona (@USConsulateBCN) August 17, 2017
The White House said President Donald Trump had been informed of the situation shortly after the news broke. In a statement on Twitter, the president wrote, “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”
First Lady Melania Trump sent “thoughts and prayers” to the victims on her own Twitter account. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also spoke during an unrelated joint press conference.
“We offer our condolences for the loss of life and injures that have occurred to so many innocent people yet again,” Tillerson said. “Terrorists around the world should know, the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice,” he added.
Catalan President Carles Puigdemont announced later in the day that a three-day period of mourning had been declared for the region.
“Catalonia has been, and will be, a land of peace,” Puigdemont said. “A place of welcome. And we will not let a minority end our way of being that has been forged over centuries. Tomorrow at noon people will gather in Plaça Catalunya for a minute’s silence.”
UPDATE: This article has been edited to reflect the updated death toll and to add details about the follow-up attack in Cambrils.