17/08/2017 World News Today


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Hello and welcome to BBC special coverage. We are staying just with


this one news story here on BBC News. Because in the last few hours


there has been a terrorist attack in Barcelona. Police say they are


dealing with an ongoing situation. A van ploughed into pedestrians in one


of the biggest -- busiest tourist areas of that Spanish city. So to


confirm what we know at this stage, Spanish police confirming that at


least one person has been killed and 32 injured. Ten of them are


seriously injured. This happened on the map ready the tourist area of


lab Ramblas. A major thoroughfare through the centre of the city. Over


the last few hours when this is have been describing hundreds of people


running down the streets. People have spoken to us who were hiding in


shops. Spanish media is reporting that two armed men have been held up


in a nearby bar and have taken hostages but that specific line has


not been confirmed by the police. Let's go to the scene live in


Barcelona. This tells the story and reflect what the eyewitnesses we


have been talking to have been saying which is that police be


moving people out of the area as much as possible. The advice is to


stay indoors and anyone who has been out on the streets have been moved


away and we have spoken to many when here on BBC news in the last few


hours to have been moved out of that key central area for their own


safety and the police cordon has been getting slowly better. That is


why the streets now work the required. Not entirely deserted,


interestingly, but every witness we have spoken to has said that they


have been harried down side streets. And that the police have been moving


people away, people have been running and police


have been moving people away. Certainly, at the moment, the advice


is to still stay indoors wherever possible. To reiterate, the casualty


numbers, as we understand them, there has been a lot of confusion


about this, the official police comment on that is one person has


died and 32 are injured. You may well have heard or picked up on


social media are far bigger numbers than that, sadly. That is partly


because Spanish media say that at least 13 people have died. That is


what is being said locally. Spanish police will not confirm that at this


stage. There is talk, first of all, to Will Geddes. A security


consultant, well known to us here at the BBC. We speak to him a lot about


these sorts of incidents. By chance, I gather that you are in Barcelona?


Can you explain what you have experienced today and what you know


of the situation? Absolutely. I have been down at the court in line along


Las Ramblas. I was actually hear a few hours ago. The view is, it's a


very small boulevard, in many regards. It is incredibly busy.


Every single shop or building contains a cafe, a shop, a


restaurant. It is packed, from dawn until dusk, with tourists. And


locals. I got reports, I was a mile away from the events taking place


and I got there as quickly as possible. The police cordon was


quickly mounted by authorities and they put it further out every ten or


15 minutes, moving the general public away. The sense here is,


business as normal. It may be partly due to people not being necessarily


aware of what has actually occurred today. And when you heard that this


was a van that had driven into pedestrians, one person that I spoke


to said that he watched it swerving, almost making a figure of eight, if


I can put it that way, swerving into pedestrians. What goes through your


mind about the modus operandi here? It's a typical and standard delivery


platform by terror groups these days. And extremists, we have seen a


lot of it recently and in North America obviously. Again, the


delivery of attack by vehicle is easy to mount and it is difficult to


prevent, other than with vehicle mitigation methods, putting concrete


blocks into key areas. Barcelona will be reconsidering their planning


to incorporate blocks around touristy areas in the city where


there is a vast number of people congregated. That plays into the


terror ideal. A lot of intelligence coming through now, there are


certain people who are quite jumpy. There are a lot of different reports


coming in right now, as you and I both know, in the first occasion of


terror incidents, there could be some unsubstantiated reports. Some


will be speculation but there have been confirmations that the second


vehicle, that this vehicle was also rented and one can assume, certainly


within a short period of time, that Spanish intelligence agencies are


all over it and looking into the individual and any known associates.


There will be thoughts of whether there could be other attacks in the


imminent period. And so, that presents an extremely worrying


scenario for the authorities, because, not to say that it could be


in Barcelona, but it could be in another city. How, given your


knowledge of this world, how do the authorities respond to that? Will


they have, for example, a plan of action for precisely this grim sort


of eventuality? In terms of prevention, it is incredibly


difficult without putting in physical barriers as a proactive


measure. I've been in many cities in the UK, and especially in London


where I live, but authorities have a very good heritage of dealing with


these kinds of incidents. Certainly, ranging right back to these events,


they have a good legacy of dealing in this capacity and certainly, all


agencies that are directly affected, there are supporters of Islamic


State, and they would have been preparing themselves after each


preceding attack, and as we have seen, many of these attacks have


involved a delivery of attack by a vehicle. Because, regrettably, that


is just so straightforward to do, is it as basic as that? Sadly, it is.


It is something which is, unfortunately, an element of our


everyday lives, and it is something that unfortunately any large town or


city cannot exist without unless it has a sophisticated public


transportation infrastructure. For the time being we will always have


vehicles on our roads but where there are cities who could feel that


they are vulnerable to this, they have to go on adopting a more robust


stance, certainly introducing bees concrete blocks and hostile vehicle


mitigation measures where they can. And unfortunately, the general


public should take reassurance from that rather than an alarmist


perspective, in that we had to live in fear. We are going to be safer


with protective measures all around us. And the only thing that could


truly prevent this kind of attack, and you and I reflected on this the


morning after the London Bridge attack here in the UK, ultimately,


because of what has happened here is relatively straightforward, as you


describe, only intelligence will prevent these attacks? Absolutely,


intelligence agencies, sharing intelligence between various


countries, that is key. You may have seen, I have on Twitter, various


names touted as the identity of the individual behind the attacks today.


And so, again, one must be cautious but agencies have sufficient


intelligence and many of those that have had those horrific attacks have


been known to a greater or lesser degree by agencies. The problem that


we face is one of resource. For those agencies, being able to


monitor and keep watch in various different forms. Those who could be


a potential risk to us. Will Geddes, it's good to have your time this


evening. The terrorism and security expert, who, by chance, is in


Barcelona. We are sadly well used to talking to Will Geddes in events


like this, and by chance he is in that Spanish city tonight and was


able to speak to us. There is actually a couple of important lines


coming from the Catalan police in the last few moments. And Reuters


News Agency. They say that police are telling them that they have


arrested one man. So, Catalan police telling Reuters News Agency that


they have arrested one man. Also, an important caveat, because they are


saying, police are saying, there is nobody held up in a bar in


Barcelona, and that is interesting. They are responding to several hours


of response in Pat -- reports in Spanish media that two men were


holding people in a bar. That came through in the last couple of hours


and Spanish media have consistently reported that and it appears Catalan


police wanted to explain that that element was not correct. So, police


are adamant that there is nobody being held up in a bar in Barcelona.


But just in the last few minutes, police have said that they have


arrested one man. Our correspondent Tom Burridge has been following this


year in the BBC Studios as well. Tom, you are very familiar with the


country too. Probably worth drawing breath for a moment. Firstly, as


ever, explaining exactly what police are thinking is this situation right


now? At the moment, police are not going beyond this casualty figure of


one dead. But the important phrase in the statement that we got from


the official from the Interior Ministry of the Catalan government,


they have a devolved government, with their own police force, that


was coming straight from their twitter feed. But the Catalan police


said that there could be more. The Spanish media, I am on their website


right now, the most read newspaper in the country, El Pais and El Mundo


say that there are at least 13 people dead. And the most popular


radio station. I would be very surprised if that death toll does


not rise. The Catalan police force, I think, we are now getting official


information from Catalan authorities, there is nobody holed


up in a bar in the centre of Barcelona. They have detained one


man in relation to the terror attack. It is interesting, actually,


on El Mundo's website, they have published a photo of a man which


they say has come directly from police, I'm not clear on whether it


has come from spat-- Spanish national police or from mozos, they


have a man on earth African origin with legal residency in Spain, they


have a photo of a suspect, a man wanted in connection with the


attack. That has been released online and we will have that photo


for people to see. It seems swift, given that this only happened in the


last three, maximum four hours. But it is a fast moving situation of


course. There was an earlier reference to finding a van in a


nearby area, not in Barcelona it self? Is a town that I am familiar


with, I had colleagues who went there for a story in the last couple


of years. It is a fairly small place 60 kilometres from Barcelona. Police


have found the van, information is coming from the mayor there, quoted


in Spanish press. You would be surprised if the basic information


is incorrect, he is essentially saying that this van has been found,


and it is thought that it could be linked to the attacks. At the


moment, I do not think we should read too much into this van, things


may become clear that actually this van has nothing to do with the


attack at all, but it is part of that investigation. And that's


coming from the town itself. And your thoughts on what kind of impact


that this has had upon people. And relating to Spain, and what the


national debate has been on terrorism and how vulnerable they


feel, what are your thoughts more broadly? People will remember the


bombings, several years ago, well before I was in Spain, on the train


system, small trains coming into the capital of Madrid. That was the


major terror attack in Spain in recent years. This does not seem on


that scale by any means but clearly it is a serious attack. It will


concentrate minds, I remember going around in the trade, -- in Madrid,


as I was jogging, I left there two years ago or so. There have been


other terror attacks in other parts of Europe. Spain had not been hit in


the time that I was there, in the five years or so in Spain. There was


a heavy police presence outside, the train station in the Madrid area,


that area of Barcelona, it is heaving. That particular area of Las


Ramblas, it is a labyrinth of tiny streets. It is a beautiful area. It


is a very packed and densely packed area. Of course, Las Ramblas is one


of the most famous places. A lot of locals avoid the area because it is


so packed with tourists on any day. The other interesting thing is, the


Catalan government, on a political step back from this, the Catalan


government is planning a referendum on independence from Spain at the


beginning of October. The Spanish and have said, you cannot do it, it


is illegal and against the constitution. This has been dragging


on for years. There a stand-off between the Catalan and Spanish


government. Mariano Rajoy, the Spanish Prime Minister, is going to


Barcelona now and that is not surprising. He will want to be


there, it's a big incident for the country. We will get a sense of


unity. Spanish media are saying in the next 12 minutes or so, we will


hear from the head of the Catalan government. He is expected to give a


statement, do not expect if it is delayed given the complexity and


lack of clarity and how things are only just becoming clearer by the


minute. Once he gets a statement, then we will get some actual


concrete facts wrong authorities. And the fact that he is giving a


statement, I guess it means that authorities are getting a hand on


the situation, and they know the facts on the ground. We will keep an


eye. Thank you. I know that you will be staying with us, Tom Burridge. A


suggestion that there will be a statement from Catalan police at


half-past. Keep an eye on that and see whether further details are


given in the news briefing. Let's speak to another eyewitness in


Barcelona at the moment. Charlie Parsons joins me on the phone. Thank


you for talking to the BBC. What have you experienced in Barcelona


today? I was cycling up Las Ramblas when suddenly a huge crowd rushed


into me, about ten or 20 metres in front of me. You freeze when that


happens. Obviously something was happening, there was screaming. I


froze, I was actually on a city bike that I needed to return. That was my


first thought and then I thought, I have to get to safety. I walked down


Las Ramblas, passing three or four people who had something that had


happened to them. There was blood, I could see them on the ground. I


showed it in a shop as it was closing its metal blinds. It was


quite a scary moment. Did you begin to understand what was happening or


was its sheer confusion? Obviously something had happened, I could hear


shots, it may have been police. I assumed it was gunfire of some kind.


There was clearly something awful that had happened. Having been in


London when the most recent London Bridge attack happened, I recognised


what it was. Your reaction is weird. You freeze, and I can literally


think of the time I went in... I went into the shop as they were


closing the shutters, as I say. Your first thought is, my God, what was


that about? In the shop, people were actually crying. I think some people


may have had friends outside who did not get in before the shuttle was


closing. I was thinking... This is awful. It was the scariest thing


that has happened in my life, for sure. Given that, it's very good of


you to talk to us, Charlie. Do you feel able to assess what the mood is


now? Admittedly, still only a few hours later, but have you been able


to get a sense of what local people are thinking and feeling about this?


Not just tourists? I don't know. I walked out the back door of this


place about 15 minutes after I had gone in. It was weird, it was


obviously before it had got to the news. So nobody was even really


aware of it. Barcelona life, which is very busy, was just continuing. I


don't know. Knowing from London, people will get on with their


business, they will not let it affect them. They did not seem to be


an error of panic, even though by the time I had to go up and around,


to get to where I was staying, and played a Catalina -- plaque at the


Catalunya was closed, people were just walking. It was scary in the


moment, the people may be curious about what had happened. I am sat on


a roof terrace and a helicopter has been circling since the incident,


looking for something. You can hear police sirens and ambulances that


life has to go on. I feel like staying in. I do not want to be


going out tonight, that is how I feel. It's really good of you to


speak to us. Thank you very much indeed. Charlie Parsons talking to


us from Barcelona, and explaining what he has experienced like so many


others in the last few hours in the Spanish city. Now, the Catalan


government has been putting updates on Twitter, and as we are now


familiar with, it is often on social media but announcements are made in


relation to these investigations and it is worth telling you that the


Catalan government is now saying on Twitter that there is confirmation,


sadly, that 13 people have died. At least 50 have been injured. This is


what they have been putting on to their Twitter, 13 people have been


killed and at least 50 are injured. Those are similar to the kinds of


figures that Spanish media have sadly been reporting in the last


couple of hours but we have only just had that confirmed. The Catalan


government have confirmed 13 people are dead and at least 50 injured. We


know, in the last little while, that one person has been arrested. Police


announced that in the last little while. One man has been arrested.


Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, issued a brief statement.


INAUDIBLE In response to that terror attack in


Barcelona. The British Prime Minister says that the UK stands


with Spain against terror. Donald Trump, from the US, has said that


America stands ready to help Spanish authorities after today's attack.


Just a final thought from you, just for now, Tom Burridge, a BBC


correspondent in Spain for several years. One person has been arrested


but grim news in terms of the death toll so far? A sad night for


Barcelona and Spain. It is a great city. I am genuinely gutted that


this has happened. As you say, this is coming in, a beneficial from the


Catalan government, 13 confirmed dead and 50 injured. I think that we


will have two, over time, see how seriously injured those people are


and whether the death toll will rise further. I am also reading that the


part of the city there is in lockdown and police have evacuated


bars and cafes. I think that the situation is currently ongoing and


facts are still coming out. Tom Burridge will stay with us, there


are suggestions that there may be another police update at half-past.


We will bring you any details that police give us there. You are


watching BBC News with continued coverage of a grim day in Barcelona,


a terrorist attack that has claimed 13 lives, and left at least


several of the advice at the moment is to stay indoors whenever


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