Barcelona attack: Police described the incident on Twitter as a "massive crash" (AFP)
Madrid: The ISIS has claimed responsibility for the terror attack in Barcelona on Thursday evening, in which a van ploughed into a crowd at a favorite tourist spot -- Spain's second largest city - killing 13 people and injuring over 50. Two persons have been arrested by the police. Ras Lamblas, one of the popular commercial areas of the city, is a top tourist destination. Spain is part of the coalition that is targeting ISIS. This was the first attack the group took responsibility for in Spain.
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Around 5pm local time, a vehicle slammed into a crowd of pedestrians on the famous Las Ramblas boulevard. Witnesses described scenes of chaos and panic as they tried to flee. The Las Ramblas boulevard is one of Barcelona's busiest streets. Street performers and tourists throng the area well into the night.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he was in contact with authorities and the priority was to attend to the injured.
There is no report of any Indian casualty in the Barcelona terror attack, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said.
The United States offered assistance to Spain. "The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!" tweeted US President Donald Trump.
Since July 2016, vehicles have been used to plough into crowds in a series of terror attacks across Europe, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.
In recent weeks, threatening graffiti against tourists has appeared in Barcelona, which draws at least 11 million visitors a year. In one video released under the slogan "tourism kills neighbourhoods", several hooded individuals stopped a tourist bus in Barcelona, slashed the tyres and spray-painted the windscreen.
Spain was hit by what is still Europe's deadliest terror strike in March 2004, when bombs exploded on commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people. Al Qaeda-inspired extremists claimed responsibility for the attack.
In July 2015, a hooded attacker opened fire outside a hotel in downtown Barcelona near Las Ramblas boulevard, leaving two people injured.