Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack in which a van ploughed into crowds in the Spanish city of Barcelona on Thursday, the group’s Amaq news agency said. “The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states,” the agency said, referring to a United States-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.
In a recent casualty toll update, 12 people have lost their lives and as many as 80 are hospitalized after Barcelona van attack, AP quoted Catalonia’s regional president informing. Earlier the death toll was reported to be 13 along with 50 injured.
A white van earlier today jumped the sidewalk in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district today, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. Barcelona police has said that the Las Ramblas van incident was ‘terrorist attack’. In the initial photographs shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were lying on the ground in the street of the northern Spanish city this afternoon, apparently being helped by police and others.
Videos of the scene recorded people screaming as they fled. Police cordoned off the broad, popular street, ordering stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. Gunmen have reportedly taken hostages at a nearby restaurant. The Police have 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. Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations.
(With inputs from agencies)