A terrorist-driven van plowed through a crowded pedestrian plaza in the heart of Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, killing at least 12 people dead and injuring dozens, the latest in a series of low-tech attacks in European cities.
Catalan authorities said they had arrested one man for the attack in Las Ramblas during the height of the tourist season. They said they expected the number of deaths to rise.
"My most serious condemnation to the terrorist attack in Barcelona," Catalan's Interior Minister Joaquim Forn tweeted just before night fell on the city. "We can confirm 13 deaths and more than 50 wounded."
Previous update: A van struck pedestrians on a crowded Barcelona street on Thursday, leaving at least 13 people dead and dozens more injured in what police called a terror attack.
Catalan authorities said they had arrested one man for the attack in Las Ramblas, a district popular among tourists. And they said they expected the number of deaths to rise.
"My most serious condemnation to the terrorist attack in Barcelona," Catalan's Interior Minister Joaquim Forn tweeted. "We can confirm 13 deaths and more than 50 wounded." There have been a number of terror-related car attacks in Europe in recent months in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.
Spanish authorities and the U.S. consulate in Barcelona are asking people to avoid the Ramblas area, particularly near Plaza Catalunya.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson expressed condolences for the victims and said the United States was monitoring the situation and offering assistance to local authorities. He urged Americans in Barcelona to let loved ones know whether they were safe.
President Donald Trump tweeted condemnation of the attack and urged Spain to be "tough and strong."
The attack unfolded along a street with wide pedestrian plazas. Video and photos of the aftermath showed people, bloodied and unmoving, sprawled on the mall amid debris and scrambling emergency workers. Police moved through nearby streets with guns drawn.
Rachel Mersky, a product designer from Oakland, California, told NBC News she was walking in the area and heard a commotion. "Suddenly everyone starts screaming and running and falling over each other and crying, so clearly I started running too," she said.
She said she followed police closer to the scene but it had been blocked off by then.
Steve Garrett, a British tourist, watched the scene unfold from the roof of a bakery.
He recalled seeing two waves of screaming people, including many tourists and children, rush into a market area. Then came the police.
"They looked like they were sweeping the market area, it was quite clear they were looking for somebody or something," Garrett said.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.