18 Aug 2017

Barcelona van attack - what we know so far

11:04 am on 18 August 2017

Two people have been arrested over a deadly van attack in a tourist area of Barcelona and a manhunt continues for the driver. Here's what we know so far:

Police check the identity of people after a van ploughed into a crowd in Barcelona.

Police check the identity of members of the public as the area is cordoned off after the van attack. Photo: AFP

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  • A white Fiat van ploughed into crowds in Las Ramblas, a famous pedestrian area in central Barcelona, on Thursday afternoon local time.
  • Officials said 13 people were killed and more than 100 were injured, though those numbers are likely to change further.
  • Witnesses said the van zigzagged down the busy tourist avenue, mowing down pedestrians and leaving bodies strewn across the ground.
  • People took cover in nearby shops and cafes.
  • Police arrested two men - one Moroccan and the other a Spanish national from the North African enclave of Melilla - but neither was the driver of the van.
  • A manhunt continued for the driver, who police said left the vehicle on foot and did not appear to be armed.
  • Police said that the attack appeared to be linked to an explosion at a house in Alcanar in the early hours of Thursday in which one person died and another was injured.
  • Authorities in Vic, a small town outside Barcelona, said another van had been found there in connection with the attack; Spanish media had earlier reported that a second van had been hired as a getaway vehicle.
  • Police released a photo of a man named as Driss Oubakir, whose documents were used to rent the van; he told police his papers had been stolen.
  • A driver who had knocked down two officers at a checkpoint in Barcelona was shot dead but police later said the incident was not linked to the van attack.
  • Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was en route to Barcelona and would co-ordinate efforts to reinforce security after the attack.
  • The vehicle attack took place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe's top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year.
  • The New Zealand Embassy in Madrid said 257 New Zealanders registered on SafeTravel as being in Spain but it had had no requests for consular assistance.
  • A New South Wales woman was injured and two men from Victoria were caught up in the attack but were back in their hotel, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said.
  • Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, the group's Amaq news agency said.
  • The attack is the deadliest in Spain since March 2004, when Islamist militants placed bombs on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and wounding more than 1800.

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