Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Police: Attack aimed to kill as many as possible - 13 dead, more than 100 injured in Barcelona

Published:Friday | August 18, 2017 | 12:00 AM
An injured person is carried in Barcelona, Spain, yesterday, 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.

BARCELONA (AP):

The interior chief for Spain's Catalonia region said three days of mourning have been declared to honour the victims of the van attack that killed 13 people in Barcelona's bustling Las Ramblas district.

Interior Department chief Joaquim Forn said the death toll could increase, since at least 15 of the more than 100 people thought to have been injured in the attack were badly hurt.

Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said the van driving up onto a sidewalk and swerving among pedestrians in a crowded area was "clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible".

Trapero said the two suspects in custody were directly linked to the attack, "but that doesn't mean that either was the author of the attack".

The injured are being cared for at various hospitals.

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the van attack.

A statement carried by the extremist group's media arm the Aamaq news agency says yesterday's attack was carried out by "soldiers of the Islamic State".

It says the attack was in response to IS calls for its followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive the extremist group from Syria and Iraq.

The statement provided no further details about the attackers.

The police force for Spain's Catalonia region says a car knocked down two police officers at a traffic checkpoint in Barcelona.

The Mossos d'Esquadra force did not indicate if the incident was related to the van attack.

Barcelona police later said in a tweet that the car and its driver were intercepted about 10 kilometers (6 miles) outside of the downtown area where the original attack happened.

Leaders from around the world have expressed outrage at the events, pledging their support to Spain.