About 13 people were killed and 80 injured when a van driver plowed into a crowd enjoying a peaceful, afternoon in Barcelona near Las Ramblas, an area popular with tourists.
Spanish authorities said was a terrorist attack. The police have taken two people into custody.
Within hours, the Islamic State claimed that the perpetrators were its “soldiers”.
According to Witnesses in Barcelona, people were screaming and running to safety as the driver of the van drove back and forth just before 6 p.m., apparently trying to hit as many people as he could.
“There has just been a massive trampling on the Ramblas in Barcelona by a person with a van,” the Catalan police said on Twitter.
Police officers swept through the area telling people to leave the area.
Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said the attack van was “clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible”.
He said the van driver made off on foot and is not believed to be armed.
Local media said police were hunting a suspect named Driss Oukabir, after the passport of a Spanish citizen, of Moroccan origin, was found at the scene.
Later it was reported that Oukabir has denied being involved in the attack and told police his documents had been stolen.
Catalan authorities said two suspects are in custody but neither are the van driver.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said on Twitter that Barcelona and Paris “are cities of sharing, love and tolerance. Such values are stronger than the despicable and cowardly terrorism.”
— Anne Hidalgo (@Anne_Hidalgo) August 17, 2017
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said his city stands with Barcelona against the evil of terrorism.
He also said, “My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services.”
The Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont had this to say to those who have been showing support since the incident occurred.
Our thoughts are with the victims of this attack.