Islamic State claimed responsibility for the deadly rampage along Bercelona's most famous avenue, Las Ramblas, on Thursday, which was packed with tourists taking an afternoon stroll. The death toll could rise, with more than 100 injured, authorities said.
Las Ramblas is a central boulevard that runs 1.2km (0.75 miles) through the centre of Barcelona from the city's Plaça de Catalunya (Catalonia Square) to the Christopher Columbus monument at the seafront. It is popular with tourists because of its market stalls, bars and restaurants.
Witnesses said the van deliberately targeted people, weaving from side to side. The driver of the van, believed to be the sole attacker, fled on foot and is still being hunted by police.
The number of people injured in the attacks in Barcelona Cambrils has risen to 130, Reuters reports citing an emergency services spokesman. Seventeen were in a critical condition and another 30 were in a serious condition, the spokesman said. Emergency services said in a statement that the dead and injured in the two attacks were of 34 different nationalities.
According to Reuters, the injured and dead came from 24 different countries, the Catalan government said on Friday in a statement. Citizens of some 24 countries were killed or injured in the Las Ramblas attack, the Catalan government has said.
One Belgian national has been confirmed dead. France's foreign ministry said on Friday that 26 French nationals were injured, with at least 11 in a serious condition. Hong Kong, Taiwan and Greece are among those saying their citizens were injured. German, Pakistani and Philippine nationals were also among the casualties, the Catalan government said.
Islamic State's Amaq news agency said: "The perpetrators of the Barcelona attack are soldiers of the Islamic State and carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states" - a reference to a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.
As security forces hunted for the van's driver, who was seen escaping on foot, police said they had killed five attackers on Thursday night in Cambrils, a town south of Barcelona, to thwart a separate attack using explosive belts. The terrorists were wearing suicide belts and they have been shot dead by police.
Before the van ploughed into the tree-lined walkway of Las Ramblas, one person was killed in an explosion in a house in a separate town southwest of Barcelona, police said. Residents there were preparing explosives, a police source added.
Police said they had arrested two men, a Moroccan and a man from Spain's north African enclave of Melilla, though neither was the van driver. They added that the situation in Cambrils was under control.
The CIA warned Spanish police two months ago that Las Ramblas was a potential target, reports said.
Donald Trump, the US president, tweeted that the US “will do whatever is necessary to help”, adding: “Be tough & strong, we love you!.” The Spanish royal family described the attackers as “assassins, criminals who won’t terrorise us”, while Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish prime minister, said the attack was “jihadist terrorism” requiring a global response.
UNWTO strongly condemns the attack perpetrated in Barcelona
UNWTO strongly condemns the heinous attack perpetrated yesterday in the city of Barcelona and expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of the innocent victims and to the people and government of Spain.
"We are deeply saddened by this act of terror and the tragic loss of innocent lives. In these difficult times, our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai. "This is again a cowardly attack against all of us and a strong reminder that we need to be united, as an international community, in fighting these forces of darkness and all acts of terror", he added expressing UNWTO’s full solidarity with Spain, headquarters of UNWTO, and its people.
WTTC statement following attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain
The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) strongly condemns the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Spain on 17/18 August 2017.
Gloria Guevara, President & CEO, WTTC, said: “I am extremely saddened to hear about these callous attacks in Spain, my heart goes out to the victims, their friends, and families.
Barcelona and Cambrils are two beautiful and strong tourist spots. The Travel & Tourism sector offers its full support to all those impacted - both destinations, Spain, and its people - as it is going through these difficult times."
ETOA reacts to attacks in Spain
ETOA offers its heartfelt sympathy to Spain following yesterday's shocking and senseless attacks, to the people of Barcelona and Cambrils, and to our members and partners throughout Catalonia.
Regional and national authorities have acted promptly and efficiently. Daily life has quickly been resumed. Only the immediately affected areas have been cordoned off. Public transport systems are largely unaffected.
Visitors will see substantial additional police presence. Some temporary restrictions are in place: Las Ramblas is open with visitors subject to police controls; Plaza Cataluña in Barcelona may only be accessed on foot, and without large luggage; Paseo Marítimo in Cambrils is open. There is no wider disruption of any significance. ETOA will continue to monitor the situation.
Mario Bodini, Chairman of ETOA - the European tourism association, commented: "Spain reacted with impressive resilience to the terrible train attacks on Madrid in 2004; her admirable reaction to yesterday's events in Catalonia underlines the determination for life to carry on as normal. Europe in general, and Spain in particular, remains a very safe destination."