Police in Barcelona, Spain confirmed fatalities after a van plowed into a popular tourist area in the city’s Las Ramblas district on Thursday.
Catalan police confirmed there are several “dead and injured” after the white van mounted a curb, striking several people. Video shows a the white van mounted on a walkway with heavy damage to the front bumper.
It’s unclear if the incident was intentional but authorities are asking for people to stay inside until police advise otherwise.
Citing local media, Reuters reported two armed people entered a restaurant in Barcelona after following the van crash.
Spain’s El Periodico newspaper reported that two armed men were holed up in a bar in the city centre, and reported gunfire in the area.
Authorities have yet to confirm gunfire in the area.
Officials are asking people to “communicate via social networks” to avoid overloading the local telephone system.
Photos on social media show several people on the ground as emergency services arrive.
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.
Mid-August is the height of the tourist season in Barcelona and one of the Europe top travel destinations, according to Reuters, with over 10 million visitors each year.
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 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 and four men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge and rampaged with knives nearby, killing eight in June.
A man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June.
More to come…