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17 August 2017

Barcelona van attack being treated as terrorism

The death toll has been raised from initial reports following the attack on Las Ramblas.

By New Statesman

At least 13 people are dead and 50 injured after a van ploughed into pedestrians on a busy shopping street in Barcelona.

The white Fiat was deliberately targeting bystanders in the popular tourist area of Las Ramblas, according to witnesses. Police are treating the incident as terrorism and have arrested one man. Earlier reports of armed men in a cafe have not been corroborated.

The prime minister Theresa May has issued a statement saying that “the UK stands with Spain against terror”. Other world leaders, including Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel, have also voiced their support for Spain. 

The city’s metro system was on lockdown, while terrified tourists hid in shops and restaurants. 

Van attacks have become an increasingly popular form of weapon for both far right and Islamist terror groups. On 12 August, a car ploughed into anti-Nazi protestors in Charlottesville, Virginia. Just three days earlier, a man rammed a vehicle into a group of soldiers in Paris. Last July, 86 people died after Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a lorry into a crowd in Nice.

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