At least 13 people are dead and 80 others are injured after a person operating a white van drove it onto the sidewalk and plowed into pedestrians in the Las Ramblas district of Barcelona, Spain, Thursday evening, authorities said.
"My strongest condemnation of the terrorist attack in Barcelona. We can confirm 13 deaths and more than 50 wounded," tweeted Joaquim Forn, minister of the Interior of Catalonia.
About an hour after Forn's statement, U.S. TV networks reported 80 people had been wounded in the attack.
La meva ms rotunda condemna a l'atemptat terrorista de Barcelona. Podem confirmar 13 morts i ms de 50 ferits. @mossos @solercampins pic.twitter.com/va0IlQejb0— Joaquim Forn (@quimforn) August 17, 2017
"Terrorist attack confirmed. The terrorist attack protocol has been activated," Catalan police tweeted around 7 p.m. local time.
Terror fears in Barcelona after van crashes into pedestrians before driver flees 'and gunshots are heard nearby' https://t.co/TPQSINTxlE pic.twitter.com/ad7tQkrhxD— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) August 17, 2017
Las Ramblas is a large pedestrian tourist district full of shops and stalls. Graphic videos on Twitter showed people lying on the ground along the block near Placa Catalunya where the incident took place.
Police released a photo of Driss Oukabir, the man believed to have rented the van used in the attack. Oukabir, 28, is from Morocco and currently resides in Ripoll, Spain. Two days ago, he posted a photo on Facebook that showed him lying under a parasol on a beach.
Some reports indicated the driver of the van had been arrested. One suspect was reported to have been killed in a shootout with local police.
A second van thought to be connected to the incident was located approximately 40 miles away from the main scene, according to Fox News.
Another vehicle struck a police officer blocks from the center of Las Ramblas scene hours after the first incident. The driver was detained, but no additional information was known.
Police denied a report that two armed men had taken hostages in a nearby Turkish restaurant. Initial reports said one or two men may have been holding people hostage in a bar, but it was later reported that people were hiding in that bar.
Metro trains and public transportation were suspended and the public was urged to shelter in place.
Emergency Message for #Spain- Serious security incident ongoing at #LasRamblas, #Barcelona. US citizens- let loved ones know if you're safe. pic.twitter.com/hP2YejuTf1— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) August 17, 2017
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the agency is monitoring the situation and urged Americans to stay away from the area.
A White House spokesperson said Chief of Staff John Kelly was "aware of the situation" and keeping the president updated.
First lady Melania Trump tweeted shortly before 1 p.m. and said her "thoughts and prayers" were with those in Barcelona. President Trump himself subsequently tweeted, "The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!"
The National Counterterrorism Center told Fox News it is monitoring the situation.