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Spain reacts with shock to terrorist attack in heart of Barcelona’s Ramblas

Ambulances at the scene of the attack.
Ambulances at the scene of the attack. / EFE

Terror returned to the streets of Spain once again on Thursday after a van ploughed into crowds on Barcelona’s famous Ramblas. Thirteen were killed and around 100 injured.

Many of the victims were tourists of at least 18 nationalities.

Having avoided any of the recent high-profile attacks on pedestrians by vehicles, it was Barcelona’s famous main boulevard that was the scene of the latest horrific incident to shock the world.

At around 5pm a white van entered the top end of the pedestrian boulevard that is packed with tourists at any time of the year. The vehicle moved from the mouth of the metro station on the edge of Plaça de Catalunya, eyewitnesses said, and drove in a zig zag pattern for around 600 metres, mowing down pedestrians as it went.

Police have arrested two people thought to have been involved in the preparation of the attack. The driver of the vehicle escaped the scene.

As news of the attack spread, police rapidly closed off neighbouring streets, progressively extending the cordon and trains were prevented from stopping in local stations.

Some people were initially trapped in nearby shops, hotels and restaurants before being gradually led away by police.

Catalonian president Carles Puigdemont urgently returned from his holiday home after learning of the attack.