Drivers have ploughed into pedestrians in two quick-succession, separate attacks in Barcelona and another popular Spanish seaside city, leaving 13 people dead and injuring more than 100 others.
In the first incident, which was claimed by Islamic State, a white van sped into a street packed full of tourists in central Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, knocking people out of the way and killing 13 in a scene of chaos and horror.
Some eight hours later in Cambrils, a city 120 kms south of Barcelona, an Audi A3 car rammed into pedestrians, injuring six civilians — one of them critical — and a police officer, authorities said.
Gunfire ensued during which police killed the five attackers, some of whom were wearing explosive belts. Police said they were “working on the hypothesis that the terrorists shot dead in Cambrils are linked to what happened in Barcelona”.
Witnesses in Barcelona recounted how bodies were strewn along the famous Las Ramblas boulevard where the driver went on a rampage as other people fled for their lives, screaming in panic. The carnage in a city hugely popular with tourists from around the world is the latest in a wave of attacks in Europe where vehicles have been used as weapons of terror.
As world leaders united in condemning the carnage, the Islamic State propaganda agency Amaq claimed that it was carried out by “soldiers” from the jihadist group.
Police announced the arrest of two suspects, identified as a Spaniard and a Moroccan, but said the driver was still on the run.