Utter chaos reigned in Barcelona after a van suddenly plowed through a touristy promenade of the Catalan capital leaving deaths, scores of injured people and a river of blood in its wake, several witnesses have told RT following the terrorist attack.
LIVE UPDATES: Van smashes into pedestrians in central Barcelona
“I saw many people running. When we got there the policemen put us in a bar and locked us inside it and when we went out I saw covered bodies of kids lying on the street,” Abdelkarim Attoug, a former policeman who witnessed the tragedy told RT.
Eduardo Elias, whose balcony overlooks La Rambla street, told RT that he heard “the noise of cracks and people screaming.”
“The whole [of Las] Ramblas full of people on the floor, I saw a lot of blood. And then police started to appear from everywhere and they arrived, the ambulances, but for more than one hour here it was terrible,” he stressed, pointing out that the street was full of tourists.
Other witnesses, who despite their shock agreed to talk to RT on camera, spoke about the chaos in the wake of the van attack in La Rambla.
“They [survivors] all wanted to get on taxis and they were paying 100 euros for a taxi. Everything was closed, bars, shops,” one of the witnesses said.
Attoug has called on authorities to integrate the migrants, whose numbers in Spain have swelled amidst an EU wide refugee crisis.
“Honestly, that’s a call to the Spanish state, to integrate qualified people who are here and to get rid of all the barriers that are on the way of people with competence,” Attoug said.
“I am criminologist here in Spain, I am the coordinator in one of the leader companies in the world and they put a lot of barriers because of nationality. I am from Morocco, [a] police chief and I find many barriers to people who want to help and to integrate.”
Another eyewitness, Julian Klein from Argentina, said she was “truly surprised” to have witnessed the atrocity, pointing out that the attack will have an impact on tourism. “I think it is not good for tourism. People come here to enjoy and then this happens. I hope they find the fugitives and everything will be all right,” Klein said.
“Everybody was afraid that this could happen but until now you see them on TV and you think, this is something that happens very far [away]. You don’t think it will happen here until suddenly you find it,” Elias meanwhile added.
At about 5pm local time Thursday, a rented white Fiat van mounted a pavement and plowed through pedestrians in a zigzag motion at high speed for several hundred meters, killing 13 and injuring at least 119 others. The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL/ISIS) terrorist group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack through its AMAQ news agency.
READ MORE: House explosion in Alcanar, Catalonia may be linked to Barcelona terrorist attack – police
Spanish authorities have so far detained two suspects – a Spanish national and a Moroccan. The investigation into the terrorist act is ongoing, with police probing possible links to a Wednesday night house explosion in Alcanar and the Thursday night “foiled terrorist plot” in Cambrils.