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Catalonia's interior minister has confirmed that 13 people have died after a van crashed into a crowd in the tourist area of Las Ramblas, Barcelona.
A white van crashed into crowds on Las Ramblas - a busy tree-lined promenade in the centre of the Catalonian city - injuring a further 50 people.
In a tweet, the police of Catalunya (the area in which Barcelona sits) said: "Confirmed terrorist attack. The protocol for these cases is enabled."
Previously, Spanish police had stated that many have been fatalities and many have been injured in a 'massive crash', with emergency services on the scene and main roads around the area closed.
Estampida ahora mismo en El Corte Inglés de Plaza Catalunya en Barcelona pic.twitter.com/72LLRmJjRk
- Jordi Perez Colome (@jordipc) August 17, 2017
A previous statement from the police read: "Huge collision on Las Ramblas in Barcelona by an individual driving a van, many injuries."
Spanish authorities have ordered the closure of local metro and train stations, with many scared residents and tourists believed to be taking cover in nearby cafes and restaurants.
Eyewitness Tom Gueller has told the BBC about how he was forced to flee the scene.
"I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that," he told Radio 4's PM programme.
Asked about the van, he said: "It wasn't slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds in the middle of the Ramblas."
In one photograph, shown by public broadcaster RTVE, three people were seen lying on the ground in the street.
The scenes are similar to the atrocities seen in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm over recent months.
Las Ramblas is a 1.2km stretch running through the centre of
the city and is popular with tourists for its market stalls, bars and restaurants.
Many well-wishers have reacted to the sad news on social media...
#Barcelona #Rambles If you are ok, please Inform your family using social networks to avoid the collapse of phone lines
- 112 (@112) August 17, 2017
I've only been there once. I wish I'll be there again. Sad to hear the news in Barcelona.
- Siddhant Makkar (@Siddhant_Makkar) August 17, 2017
Prayers are with the people and the city of #Barcelona. One of my favourite places in the world. Heartbroken we keep having such events
- Naomi Johnson (@Littlelandofme) August 17, 2017
Local police are expected to hold a news conference on Thursday evening in regards to the attack.
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