Barcelona terror attack live updates: Spanish police kill four ‘suspected terrorists’, thwart second attack

Barcelona terror attack LIVE updates: People speak on their phones as they stand on a street in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. (AP Photo) Top News

At least 13 people were killed and a 100 injured after a van plowed into a crowd in the heart of Barcelona on Thursday. The van had swerved off the sidewalk into an area near the Las Ramblas avenue, a popular tourist district of the city usually crowded with foreigners who frequent the bars and shops on the stretch of this historical market area. The Islamic State terror group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hours after the attack, the Spanish Police killed four “suspected terrorists” in Cambrils, which is 100 kilometres to the south of Barcelona. They confirmed that the suspects were planning to target the region in a similar attack. Six civilians and one police officer were wounded in the operation.

Barcelona terror attack LIVE updates (All times in IST): 

7.30 am: This is the statement the Islamic State group reportedly put out on Thursday in response to the attack: “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”. This is a reference to a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni militant group, reports AP.

7.25 am: An anti-terror operation is being conducted across Spain right now, with police probing what could be one of multiple planned attacks. The Spanish Police is currently searching for the driver of the van, who was last seen fleeing the scene on foot.

Just to break it down, there were multiple incidents on Thursday, due to which the police believe the Las Ramblas attack was one of many. First, there was an explosion in a house in a separate town southwest of Barcelona, which killed one person. Second, the Las Ramblas attack in Barcelona. Third, police foiled a bomb plot in Cambrils; six civilians and one policeman have been injured.

The suspected van is towed away from the area where it crashed into pedestrians at Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Spain, August 18, 2017. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

7.15 am: The bomb squad has been sent to Cambrils to determine if the attackers were carrying explosive belts. The Catalan Police are expected to carry out a series of controlled explosions in the coastal town now.

7.05 am: The four “suspected terrorists” killed by the Spanish Police in Cambrils — around 100 kilometres from Barcelona to the south of the country — are believed to have been linked to the attack, confirm the Catalan police. A fifth suspect was left wounded. According to Reuters, they were trying to conduct a similar attack to the one in Barcelona. Six civilians and one police officer have been injured in Cambrils.

6:55 am: Here’s a recap of the events from Spain, in case you’re just joining us. On Thursday evening, at least 13 people were killed and a 100 injured after a van plowed into a promenade in Barcelona. The Islamic State terror group later claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by “the soldiers of the IS”.

In response to the attack, the Catalan police shot and killed four suspects and wounded a fifth. Las Ramblas, where the attack took place, is in lockdown. The van driver remains at large, after he abandoned his vehicle and fled on foot.

6:30 am: Spanish police confirm officers shot and killed four suspects in a separate alleged terror plot south of Barcelona, AP reported

5: 27 am: Several attackers killed in shootout in cambrils, south of Barcelona, after police announce operation, Spanish Media reported

1:11 am: ISIS claims responsibility for van attack in Barcelona through its Amaq news agency, Reuters report

12:10 am: Spanish police have released this photo of Driss Oukabir, the man who is alleged to have rented the van used in the attack in Barcelona.

12:05 am: Catalan regional police say they are evacuating people from Barcelona’s Las Ramblas area amid manhunt after van attack, AP reports.

11:55 pm: And it’s confirmed. A Catalan government official on Twitter said that 13 people have been confirmed killed in the incident.

11:50 pm: Catalan Foreign Minister condemned the attack and described the situation as ‘absolutely traumatic.’

11:40 pm: US President Donald Trump tweets, “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!”

11:35 pm: Meanwhile, Sushma Swaraj confirms that there is no report of any Indian casualty in the attack. Indians, who are in an emergency, can the Indian embassy in Spain at +34-608769335.

11:30 pm: Okay, now Spanish public broadcaster RTVE is saying that one suspect in the van attack has been arrested, reports Associated Press.

11:25 pm: “Terrorists around the world should know — the United States and our allies are resolved to find you and bring you to justice,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told a press conference with Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and their Japanese counterparts. The US has offered its assistance to Spain with the investigation.

11:20 pm: Reuters has a good map showing where exactly the van swerved off the sidewalk to crash into the crowd.

11:15 pm: While local Spanish media is reporting a higher casualty figure, the authorities have stuck to the figure of one. However, they said the figure might go up as some of the injured are in a critical condition. Police are still searching for the driver of the van.

11:05 pm: To see photos from the site of the attack,

11:00 pm: The White House says President Donald Trump has been alerted to the unfolding situation in Barcelona. Chief of staff John Kelly is aware of the developments and is keeping the president informed. Trump is on a working vacation at his private golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. His wife, first lady Melania Trump, sent her “thoughts and prayers” to Barcelona via Twitter.

10:40 pm: Police confirmed at a press conference that while one person has been confirmed killed in the incident, 32 others are injured of whom 10 are critically injured. The toll is likely to go up.

10:35 pm: Police confirms the deadly attack in Barcelona as an act of terrorism

Injured people are treated in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017 after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. (AP Photo)

10:18 pm:  According to Reuters report, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was in with authorities, and the priority was to attend to the injured.

10:09 pm:  Motive behind the attack is not confirmed yet. Catalan police have activated protocols for the attack. The  police is also searching for driver of the van that mowed down dozens in barcelona.

9:55 pm: Local media is reporting that two people have been killed even though officials have not confirmed the same. At least 20 people are reported to be injured in the incident.

9:50 pm: Two armed men have entrenched themselves in a bar in Barcelona’s city centre, El Periodico newspaper is reporting. Gunfire in the area of La Boqueria Market is also being reported. It is not clear if the men were the drivers of the van.

9:40 pm: A photograph broadcast by RTVE showed three people lying on the ground in the northern Spanish city being helped by people.

9:30 pm: Local media is reporting that two armed men have entered a restaurant nearby.

This is a breaking story. More details are awaited.

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