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One Dead, 32 Wounded in Barcelona Terror Attack. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired August 17, 2017 - 14:00   ET


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the program. Breaking news this hour. At least one person killed, 32 wounded after a

van plowed into a crowd of people in Barcelona, Spain.

That's according to Catalan Police, who have confirmed it is a terror attack. The van crashed into a walkway in the main square of Las Ramblas,

which is a popular tourist area in the city.

It's now been sealed off, the entire area has been, while someone hiding in a shop nearby has said they heard gunshots. That's according to local

media. Emergency services are asking people to stay inside wherever they are; and anyone who is not in the area, do not come down there while

emergency services continue their work.

Now, there was video taken just moments after the attack. We are going to show it to you, but would like to warn you it is graphic and it is

disturbing. Caught by people on the ground and shared on social media, we will show it to you now.

(Video Play)

HOLMES: You can see the immediate aftermath of this horrific attack, people injured, in shock, lying on the ground, some of them not moving as

emergency services and others rushed to help them. Very difficult to watch.

Let's bring in Spanish reporter Sara Canals for the latest. She works for 8TV, joins us on the phone from the scene in Barcelona. Sara, first of

all, just bring us up-to-date on what you are seeing there on the scene.


HOLMES: Yes. Tell us what you are seeing, Sara.

CANALS: Yes. Well, I'm currently in one street away from Las Ramblas, from where Las Ramblas starts, less than 100 meters from where the

attackers started to run with the van.

And actually, right now, we're just a few journalists, two media companies here gathered. We cannot move from this area. We're surrounded by police.

Every three, four minutes, ambulance is coming down the street. They are heading to Las Ramblas supposedly to take care of the injured.

And also, there is a helicopter. Maybe you are able hear it. He's like checking the area. Well, apparently, all the city and where we are now is

pretty blocked. There is no people in the street.

From-to-from time, there is some people who work on find (ph) in different shops, different malls, who are able to leave. So, we're kind of able to

talk to them and ask them about what they went through.

HOLMES: And what did they tell you, Sara?

CANALS: Well, basically, we talked to two girls. They were shopping. They were about head to Las Ramblas, but they decided to get into a shop.

And suddenly, the whole shop shut down. They were asked to stay there, to not move and they were confined for about 2 hours 30 minutes or so.

And finally, they were able to the leave. And they got orders from the police and the managers to just go straight home because the city, they

say, is not safe yet.

HOLMES: And, Sara, we had reports earlier of this van going in at high speed into this area. Tell us about this area, Las Ramblas, how crowded it

was and if you've spoken to people who saw what happened.

CANALS: Well, it's a pretty touristic area. There is always tourists here, walking around up and down to Las Ramblas. It's a pretty, pretty,

pretty crowded and popular street. And usually, in August, it's a month where there is more tourists visiting Barcelona. So, it's never - it's a

city that is never, never empty. So, there is always movement here.

And it's true that when we talk to some people here, also some tourists, they say that, of course, they have always in mind when it comes to

Barcelona to visit this popular street.

HOLMES: Sara, you said earlier that police have said it's still not safe. Can you tell us why?

CANALS: They're not what? Sorry?

HOLMES: You said earlier that police have said that the city is still not safe. Can you tell us why?

CANALS: Yes. Well, the official version is that they are asking people to stay home. They are sending a message of caution. They are not telling us

why exactly. But, well, according to the helicopter, all the deployment, we are - and the local media are saying that there is an attacker holding

hostages in Navarre.

[14:05:00] So, that's why they are sending, I guess, this message of caution. They are telling people to stay home. And apparently, it is

believed that there is about 1,000 people confined in the (INAUDIBLE) and restaurants in the area of Las Ramblas.

HOLMES: They were reports earlier, Sara, of two men barricading themselves inside a bar, armed men. Have you heard this report and is there any

update on that?

CANALS: They're just rumors for now from a Twitter post. So, we cannot confirm yet what's going in there. But it's true that also Barcelona is

not - it's a small city. And through Twitter, to also contact people talking to some friends who are gathered inside - so, everybody hears this

version of like the attacker gathering in Luna de Istanbul, which is a restaurant in the area, so we're just waiting for concerned police updates

to confirm the situation.

HOLMES: And also, there was a report that the driver may have been trying to get out of the van and get into another vehicle, a getaway car. Have

you heard anything about that?

CANALS: Well, we heard that - it is believed that there is another vehicle at a town called Vic. It is a town which is about one-hour drive from

Barcelona. It is a second vehicle. It's not a van that was used for the attack. But some local media are reporting that police also are checking

on the second van, which is one hour away from Barcelona. And it may be related to this attack.

But, of course, and again, I repeat it, it's all about local media reports. Police officers are not yet confirming this information.

HOLMES: And just finally, your reporter there in Barcelona, we've seen this type of attack in several places, in Nice and in Berlin and in London.

Were there fears in Barcelona, in Spain that it was almost a matter of time before something like this could happen there?

CANALS: Well, when you talk to people about one hour ago, I took a cab - and with the cab driver, we were even commenting and he was saying, yes, it

was - people are saying it was about time for this to happen. So, that's kind of the feeling around the people here. It was about time.

That's true that, from my perspective, I think that police here is saying they were doing a pretty good job kind of arresting some groups of people

who are related to some other terrorist attack. So, I thought Barcelona was pretty safe in that way.

But the common feeling here around the people, the people in the streets, taxi drivers, people in some restaurants outside the area, they were saying

it was about time. It is not a surprise.

Of course, people are shocked. People didn't except that, but somehow they're just feeling that it could happen.

HOLMES: Sara Canals with 8TV, thank you so much for being with us and bringing us the latest there on the scene of this dreadful terror attack

that has unfolded in Barcelona in Spain.

Raul Romeva is the minister of foreign affairs for the Catalan government. He joins me now on the phone from Barcelona. Minister, thank you for your

time. First of all, your reaction to what has happened?

RAUL ROMEVA, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS FOR THE CATALAN GOVERNMENT: Well, actually, a sad situation. A dramatic and terrific circumstance that, I

believe, we would have to condemn. It's lame. It's evident that it's something that we cannot live with. And I believe we have to clear the

investigation in order to determine exactly all the aspects related to it.

SPEAKER NAME: We were just talking to a reporter on the scene there. And when it comes to places like France and Germany and others, there has been

a fear that extremists who have gone to Iraq, who have gone to Syria would come home and carry out attacks. And we have seen attacks in Berlin and

Nice and London. Was there a sense that this could happen there in Spain?

ROMEVA: Well, obviously, Barcelona is a very popular place and it attracts a lot of media. However, still we cannot speculate on what is behind of

this. So, as long as we don't have more information, we cannot confirm or deny anything.

[14:10:13] It's obvious Barcelona is a place where in those dates especially there is a lot of tourism and there is a lot of attraction. But

beyond this, related to the causes and to what is behind of this attack, we cannot confirm what it is related to.

HOLMES: What is the latest information that your ministry has about what actually happened? Have you got any fresh information on it?

ROMEVA: Well, the public information we can simply confirm is that it was a van, that there is a (INAUDIBLE) person, that we have some more than 30

injured and still waiting. And still waiting because the information can arrive minute to minute.

So, from that perspective, I'm afraid we still lack a lot of very basic information to provide, although, obviously, the situation is so far

absolutely dramatic, which means that basically this is something that we will have to address in a very, very careful way.

HOLMES: This is not over at the moment by all accounts. You don't have the suspects. There are reports of suspects barricading themselves in a

barb, but we've had no confirmation really of that. What do you know about the status of the hunt?

ROMEVA: Well, that's exactly what I mean that until we don't have more information on how this is sitting, we cannot confirm. Actually, there is

all this operation underway and that's what we're waiting for. Actually, the thing is that we still need to clarify very, very basic things. And

until we have that information, we will not be able to report on this.

HOLMES: What advise do you have for people who might be in the city right now?

ROMEVA: Basically, to follow the official channels, the official policy and the government channels. We are providing information through

different languages. And the police, Mossos d'Esquadra, easily reporting via Twitter and other public media on how to proceed.

Obviously, we demand the people to abstain to walk around on the center of the city and, obviously, to follow all the advices that police is providing

at any moment.

HOLMES: And the Catalan police earlier did say this is a terror attack. That's your understanding as well, right?

ROMEVA: So far, that's the information, right?

HOLMES: I've been there to the Ramblas and your beautiful city. I'm just wondering how - as a Spaniard, how you feel about what has happened to this

incredible city, this incredible attraction?

ROMEVA: Well, regardless of what did happen, I think this is something that we have to condemn. This is not the question of nationality. It's a

question of humanity. And when this happens regardless of where it happens, I think we have to stay altogether and to be strong because,

obviously, what we're seeing here is a lot of innocent victims that have nothing to do with anything and that they (INAUDIBLE) for such an event.

These needs to be deplored and that's what we are doing, wherever and whenever it happens.

HOLMES: Raul Romeva, the Catalan minister of foreign affairs, appreciate your time and our sympathies and thoughts are with you and everyone in

Spain as this continues to unfold. Thank you, Mr. Minister.

I want to talk now to an eyewitness, Ali Shirazinia (ph), who saw the attack as it unfolded. Ali, appreciate you talking to us. Just first of

all, what did you see?

ALI SHIRAZINIA, EYEWITNESS: Well, it was a typically beautiful day in Barcelona and I was riding my bike. It's worth noting also that like

August is the busiest time of the year, I think, in Barcelona. There's tons of tourist. And the Ramblas is probably the busiest tourist

attraction in the city.

And it basically consists of a wide promenade and two narrow roads on either side for taxis and cars that are driving along.

And I was basically on my bike on the right side of the road. And I remember, literally a minute or two after riding past, I guess, their

equivalent of like a SWAT team guy with a big machine gun standing next to his truck, literally a minute after that, I heard a lot of screams.

[14:15:03] And I looked over to my left and I saw all of the people along the promenade kind of split into two, some going right, the rest coming

really towards me screaming and running as fast as they could towards me.

And then I heard a very loud, kind of like, it sounded like the guy that was driving - whoever was driving the van kind of floored it and I see this

white van come. It looks like a utility truck or something, a white van with some blue writing on the side.

And it literally came straight down the Ramblas and ran into people on every side. And the Ramblas is full of pedestrians, street merchants,

street performers. And I saw people flying into the air and everybody was kind of running into the shops on either side of the Ramblas. And a lot of

people were in shock. And that's basically all I saw.

And then, actually right after that, I saw I think four or five uniformed police officers running after the van. There was actually a heavy police

presence in that area, like there has been all over Barcelona all summer long, but especially in that area.

So, I think there was already a really large police presence in that area that were able to act quickly somehow in going after whoever perpetrated


HOLMES: It's a chilling picture that you paint. It seems like an obvious question, but what was going through your mind at the time? Did you

immediately think terror attack or what were you thinking?

SHIRAZINIA: Yes. We all are living in interesting times right now. I think a lot of people based on everything that been happening over the

years and what we read and what we see on the news, we all feel like we have to kind of be on guard.

We all feel like something like this is always around the corner. I know from speaking to a lot of my friends in Barcelona, whenever tragedy has

struck in other cities around the world, and Europe especially, everybody felt like the Ramblas would be next. I don't think a lot of people are

that surprised that it happened here.

HOLMES: Really? They felt that it was an obvious target?

SHIRAZINIA: It's a pretty obvious target. I noticed - because I'm in and out of the city all the time. I noticed a very, very large police

presence, checkpoints all over the city, on the route to the airport, in the center, everywhere as kind of a show of force to, I guess, let the

citizens and the tourists know that they are there and they are watching and they are aware.

And so, that was always a comforting start, but everybody in the back of their minds maybe felt like it would be an obvious target, yes.

HOLMES: That really is a terrible picture that you paint. You mentioned the security presence. What was the emergency services' response to the

injured and those, obviously, who were in pretty bad way?

SHIRAZINIA: It was immediate. Obviously, we all - all of us who kind of witnessed what had happened and were in the general area, we weren't sure

what was happening and we were being told to go into the shops.

And all the shop owners and the employees of the shops were kind of telling people along the street to come in and sort of barricade themselves inside

there. And then you heard the sirens. I saw a lot of ambulances. I saw a lot of emergency vehicles almost immediately after it had happened.

HOLMES: Ali Shirazinia, thank you so much for speaking with us. What a sight that you saw? And a distressing event for you as well. No doubt.

Thank you so much for telling us what you saw.

What a horrible story to hear? And what a thing to witness? Peter Neumann leads the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and

Political Violence at King's College here in London. He is an expert on terror and online radicalization.

Peter, we'll talk about what this looked like and the hallmarks in a moment, but are you seeing anything by way of claims?


don't see anything. And even though the police says it's terror, we don't know, obviously, who was responsible for this.

And there is the choreography. So, with all the previous attacks, it took about - if it was ISIS, it took about a day for claim to come out and we

would see significant activity on the official channels of ISIS.

Right now, what we're seeing on these chat rooms is that a lot of the so- called fan boys, a lot the supporters are cheering this attack, but they are not the people who would necessarily know who is responsible for this.

So, we have to wait for the official confirmation.

HOLMES: And when you think of Nice and Berlin and London and you see what's happened here, and you've just heard, Ali, the eyewitness giving a

very detailed account of what happened, it sounds - of course, when you talk about hallmarks, this has them, doesn't it?

NEUMANN: Of course, it is the perfect fit. It is the MO, the modus operandi, that ISIS has been promoting it. All of its magazines, if you

look at the online magazines of ISIS, almost every issue of these online magazines, it says terror knife attacks, terror vehicle attacks.

And since Nice last year, July last year, we've seen, I think, six or seven of these attacks. It started with Nice because that killed 86 people and a

lot of people who are following this ideology seem to have taken inspiration.

HOLMES: And then we saw what happened in Berlin and that was another terrible incident that killed 12 people, I think, in Berlin and then, of

course, what happened in London as well.

And this speaks to the problem for security forces. As Ali was saying there, he said there was an enormous security presence in the city

generally and even at the Ramblas. It's hard to stop a speeding van.

NEUMANN: Yes. You can only stop it - and it will be very, very important to find out who exactly the perpetrator was. It's not possible to stop the

attack. But, of course, if you know the perpetrator, then it is important and right to focus on the person and to see who could be carrying out these

attacks and to make sure they don't move and they don't enter the vehicle in the first place.

HOLMES: No, get them before they do it.

NEUMANN: Absolutely.

HOLMES: And that's difficult too if they don't have a home.

NEUMANN: That's difficult too because, over the past five or six years, we've seen a such a rise of individuals. The numbers have risen so starkly

that a lot of police forces, even very good police forces like the Catalan Police in Barcelona, have a hard time dealing with the capacity, with the

number of people that they consider to be acutely dangerous.


NEUMANN: And, of course, Barcelona - by the way, this is very important to know. Barcelona, for ten years, has been a hotspot of the jihadist scene.

We see a number of plots coming out of Barcelona. There was a study only published a couple of months ago that said, in fact, Barcelona is one of

the two or three places in Spain where most jihadists are coming.

HOLMES: But it's not been a target before. Is it just the planning center, what's -?

NEUMANN: Well, there was a plot about ten years ago that was actually targeting Barcelona. It was at that point that the police there started

being very seriously interested in this issue. But at that point, it was almost too late because already a number of preachers had basically put up

camp around Barcelona and a scene had emerged.

HOLMES: And so, when you're talking about trying to get to these people before they act, which is obviously what you want to do, another feature

has been, has it not, that we talk a lot about ISIS foreign fighters, Europeans who'd been to Syria, coming back from Iraq and so on, who are

well trained and motivated and radicalized, but a lot of these acts are carried out by people who weren't necessarily in those places?

NEUMANN: Yes. If you want, that's the strategy of ISIS. On the one hand, they have these people who are trained, who are fully signed up members of

ISIS, who have traveled to Syria, who are, to some extent, being sent back and ISIS is hoping that they are carrying attacks.

On the other hand, ISIS is putting out all this propaganda, which is aimed at enthusiastic supporters who are not necessarily fully signed up members

and basically telling them, don't even bother building a bomb.

It's far too complicated. Do something that is so simple that it doesn't require any planning, it doesn't require any communication, and you can do

it on your own with no planning. That's the best kind of attack from their perspective. And they are right. In a sense, it is almost impossible to

prevent unless the police knows that that person is a supporter of ISIS.

HOLMES: Right. And I want to ask you one other thing. But before I do, I'm just getting word too that the death toll is now 13. We knew it would

go up from the scenes that we had seen in Las Ramblas, but at least 13 dead.

[14:25:10] When we look at Spain - and it's interesting what you say about it being a hotspot of planning, why would Spain be a target or does it not

matter? It's a Western European capital.

NEUMANN: Well, ISIS has said clearly, and this is all presumed on the assumption that it may turn out to be ISIS or ISIIS related, ISIS has

repeatedly said that every country that fights against them is an enemy. And Spain, of course, is part of the coalition against ISIS. And in that

sense, it is a target.

HOLMES: Yes. Peter Neumann, thanks so much. We'll talk with you again in a moment, but appreciate that now great insight there. All right.

I want to update you now on what we do know about what has happened in Barcelona. As I said a moment ago, we now have confirmation that 13 people

at least were killed, more than 50 injured when a van plowed into a crowd of people at high speed.

This is according to Catalan Police, who do confirm that one person has been arrested. Still trying to find out details on who that is and what

exactly their role may have been.

US officials have said that Spanish investigators believe the suspects - and they are saying pleural at the moment - may have been trying to reach a

getaway vehicle, but so far they don't know if they actually made it to that car.

Now, the van crashed into a walkway in the main square of Las Ramblas, a very popular tourist area in this popular tourist destination of Barcelona.

That whole area has been sealed off. You see there where the van crashed in that open area, but it had already plowed for some distance down the

center of the Ramblas where people walk, there are stores as we heard from an eyewitness earlier, street performers and the like.

Meanwhile, somebody hiding in a shop nearby said they heard gunshots. Now, that's according to local media. Emergency services asked people in the

area to stay inside, although we heard from a local reporter a short time ago, Sara Canals, who said that a lot of those people who had been

sheltering in shops had now been allowed to leave.

Still, obviously, an ongoing situation with nobody really knowing where the perpetrators, the drivers are, even though there has been that one arrest.

Now, a little bit of background and context here. Barcelona, one of Europe's most popular travel destination. Las Ramlas, as we've being

saying, is the city's most famous street. Pretty much anyone who goes to Barcelona as a tourist walks down that street.

It's lined with cultural institutions, historic buildings, and not just popular with tourists either. A lot of locals go down there in the shops

and the bars and the restaurants, particularly busy at the height of summer, which, of course, is where we are at in the northern summer.

People enjoying the shops and restaurants. You can see there a picture of it in more peaceful times. One-point-two kilometers long. That's about

three quarters of a mile that connects Placa de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus monument.

Eyewitness Mark Bass (ph) took some of the video that we've been showing you. He joins us now on the phone. Mark, the video that we have seen is

just horrific. Tell us how you were - how you came to be there and what you saw.

MARK BASS, EYEWITNESS: Yes, I was working - we have the office at Placa Reial. This is, I would say, in the last third of Las Ramblas from Place

de Catalunya to the street. And at some point this afternoon, around 5, we started hearing a lot of sirens. And it's a very lively area and we're

used to hear sirens, but it was totally abnormal.

And I jumped off to this street to see what was happening. And I find myself in the Las Ramblas. Everybody, people, was running towards the

street. Everybody crying and (INAUDIBLE).

And at that point, the police were starting to arrive with the team. And you could really see the tension of the moment. It was very unclear what

was happening, but there was already a lot of police, they were starting to evacuate the area. There's a lot of confusion and everybody was shocked,

especially the ones that were coming from where the attack has taken place.

HOLMES: And at that time, were you thinking it was a terror attack?

BASS: Well, you see, in Barcelona especially, in the summer season and being so close to Paris and London, we always have this kind of situation

in mind, but you never really think that it can happen to you or so close.

But at some point, when we saw, like there were more than 10, 15 police cars and then ambulance started to arrive, it was very, very clear that it

was not a normal situation at all and that it had to be something really, really big and we're not used to have this kind of situation in Barcelona.

It was clear like a terrorist attack very soon to us, yes.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN HOST, AMANPOUR: And we were talking earlier to another witness who said that the police presence in Las Ramblas and the area

around it was very heavy to begin with just as a matter of routine. There were a lot of police and others there. Tell me about that.

ABBAS: Yes. As a matter fact, we - as I said before, we work in Placa Reial, which is, I would say, one of the most lively points in this area,

in the Ramblas area, and we go there every day.

And last week, we had been able to - we have seen a lot more police than we are used to, a lot more. And police were heavy armed. We normally see the

regular local police. And these last two weeks, I would say that we have seen a lot of heavy armed police much more than usual. Much, much more

than usual, yes. Yes, you're right.

HOLMES: And, Mark, you live in a beautiful city, do you see the city bouncing back from this, recovering?

ABBAS: Yes, I think so. You're right. Barcelona is a beautiful city and it's also a very lively city. People are full of life and very supportive

and they're always trying to help everybody. Everybody is affected and we are all very shocked by what has happened.

I am sure that if this happened in Paris or in London, people will carry on with their lives, maybe at first being a little bit more concerned of

security issues. (INAUDIBLE) and they will not let us down.

HOLMES: Mark Abbas, thank you so much for your time, a difficult, a tragic day there in Barcelona. Thanks for being with us.

And I want to bring back in Spanish reporter, Sara Canals, who works for 8TV, and we spoke to you earlier in the hour, Sara. I am wondering if

there is any update now from police on the hunt for these suspects.

SARA CANALS, REPORTER, 8TV: Hi. Well, there is just one update. We believe there is one guy arrested. And off the record, we think that there

is two others who are on the run. Police are looking for them.

And right now here, where we are, just about five minutes ago, we heard a big noise. We just turned around and then we saw a crowd of people running

away, police running after them. There was a bit of a panic moment because, at every little noise, at every movement, people are kind of

scared and kind of going crazy, but finally nothing happened.

It was just a false alarm, but just a proof to show you that people are scared and people are still waiting for a more consistent update. And,

well, they are still waiting to confirm that all the attackers are arrested, which is not confirmed right now.

HOLMES: So, there is still a sense of, well, fear in Barcelona, right?

CANALS: Sorry, I can't hear you. There is the helicopter here.

HOLMES: Yes. I can hear the helicopter there. Yes, I can hear that. I was saying, from what you are saying, there is still a lot of fear in


CANALS: Yes. There is a lot of fear. Even us, we are a little bit scared because now these people who are running were actually here, five meters

from us in the street where we are waiting for some updates.

So, there is also a girl who is really shocked and we talked to her. She said she was leaving a building and she heard a noise. She started

running. Then after her, other people started running. Police are also running after them. People are not calmed right now. People are not calm.

[14:35:08] HOLMES: And, Sara, you've obviously spoken to a lot of people who were having to hide in shops and take cover from what was happening,

what did they tell you?

CANALS: Well, they tell us that they are still in shops. They are still with their phones trying to reach their family members, answering messages,

they are heading home right away, that's what police told them, that's what also monitors of some shops and some malls told them.

So, everybody kind of shares the same story. They are in shop. They still cannot believe what happened. Some of them are telling us it was about

time, we kind of expected. But, of course, when the moment arrives, everybody here is shocked.

And more and more, there is police cars coming to this area. There is a lot of police. But after this incident, five minutes ago where people

started to run, there is about five cars who arrived here, like official cars, but also unofficial cars from the police. So, we also have the

feeling that things are pretty under control in this area.

But we don't know what's going on outside this area. So, there is this fear of, OK, we're - all the eyewitnesses who are going home have this

fear, OK, this is - here it's kind of stay, but what will happen when I have to go home, I have to take a subway or take a cab or walk home. So,

this is a big question mark.

HOLMES: And, Sara, several people have told us that, as horrifying as something like this obviously is that a lot of people in Spain, in

Barcelona thought that, at some point, something like this was going to happen.

CANALS: Yes. Yes, yes, that's something that people are commenting. Obviously, we have been through two years where there have been several

attacks in Europe. And here it's pretty common to travel to Paris, to Nice for vacations, to London.

So, people here in Barcelona, not only Paris, just Barcelona citizens, are used to travel around Europe. So, yes, there is always a fear. They tell

me whenever you catch a plane, you go to the airport, there is a little bit of fear.

People are aware there is more police around the area, but you never expect actually the moment when it happens. It takes you on surprise kind of.

HOLMES: Yes. Sara Canals of 8TV. Thank you so much for being with us again. Great reporting on this terrible event. Appreciate it.

Sara Canals there from 8TV. We do want to show you some new video that is just into us now. I haven't even seen it myself. It does show people, I

am told, running into a Barcelona store, which Sara was telling us about. You can hear panic in their voices as they run for cover. Let's have a



HOLMES: It really does capture the sense of understandable panic and fear in the wake of what happened on Las Ramblas in the last few hours. Really

must have been terrifying for those people just running away from, they probably didn't know what at that time.

Diego Moro is a Barcelona native. He lectures on terrorism and political violence at the University of St Andrews. He's joining me now via Skype.

This is just, obviously, a horrible event. What has been striking to me is the number of people we've spoken to in Barcelona, who all but expected

something like this would happened eventually.

DIEGO MURO, LECTURER IN TERRORISM AND POLITICAL VIOLENCE, UNIVERSITY OF ST ANDREWS: Well, yes, certainly. I think that's one of the views, one of

the feeling that is widely shared not only amongst people in Barcelona, but in Spain as a whole.

As a previous journalist commented, Spain has been on high alert. That is four out of five since June 2015.

The authorities and the security services have said for a number of months that perfect security does not exist and that even though they are doing

everything possible to prevent a terrorist attack, which is - this is not always possible.

[14:40:01] And I think the authorities in Spain, as it has happened in the rest of Europe, have been preparing the citizens for this tragic


HOLMES: No, I was going to ask you. So, while there was a high alert, do you know of whether there was any warning or indication that an attack

might be coming, was imminent?

MURO: I am not aware of any sort of specific warning. What I can tell you is that the number of arrests has been considerable in the last two years.

Over 170 suspected jihadists, people who have been radicalized or who were planning to travel to the Middle Eastern region have been arrested.

So, even though there was no specific warning or threat that I am aware of, there was certainly a general threat that was not only specific to

Barcelona or Spain, but to the rest of the European Union.

And so, 170 suspected radical jihadists arrested in recent times, which is quite a number. Is radicalization seen as a big problem in Spain?

MURO: Well, traditionally, it was not seen as a big problem. People talked about so-called Spanish exceptionalism with regards to violent

radicalization and to the lack of terrorist attacks. Of course, one stops being an exception with an attack such as this one.

But it is important to bear in mind that Spain is different to other European countries in the sense that it has a smaller minority or a smaller

number of migrants. Spain really was not a country of immigration until the 2000s. And then, as a result of the Great Recession, the crisis, main

of these migrants went home again.

So, Spain has not been traditionally a country of immigration. And in comparative terms, Spain has fewer second generation migrants than, for

example, the United Kingdom, France or Germany.

HOLMES: What about the Muslim population? Are they considered vulnerable? What's been the attitude there towards the Muslim population?

MURO: Well, there is no indication that the Muslim population is treated more unfairly than other sort of members of other groups, but certainly

there is a view among Spain that there are some other migrants that are easier to integrate, in particular all the Latin American immigrants which

speak the same language and shares the same religion.

So, the Muslim, although it has always been present, not only in the history of Spain, but in recent history, and if you look at the centers of

radicalization in Spain, the centers that are worrying the authorities, these are four urban centers.

These are Barcelona, Madrid and Ceuta and Melilla, which are two enclaves in Northern Africa, which are sort of autonomous cities. So, these four

centers that worry the authorities are mainly populated by Muslim migrants.

HOLMES: And when it comes to organizational capability of these jihadists or suspected jihadists, talking to Peter Neumann earlier here on set,

saying that Barcelona has been something of a hot bed for at least organizational and planning purposes, if not actual acts of terror that

were successful.

MURO: Yes, absolutely. Neumann in that respect is absolutely right. Both Barcelona and Madrid are large urban centers with large populations which

attract a large amount of migrants from within Spain, from European Union and from outside the European Union.

And Barcelona has been the hot bed of many of these organizations, in part because Barcelona is closer to the Pyrenees and, as a result, closer to

Europe. And this has been used as headquarters, if you will, as a region, as a city where many of these individuals - I wouldn't say organizations,

where many of these individuals have been able to disguise themselves within migrant communities.

HOLMES: And how successful has the intelligence community been in ferreting them out?

MURO: Well, the issue of radicalization is not only one that can be prevented by security means even though this is, of course, the main method

of preventing a terrorist attack. But the approaches that has been taken in Spain for the last decade or so has been to combine both social and

security measures.

So, the police and the intelligence services have been very effective so far since 2004, if you really think about it, when the last Al Qaida

inspired attacks took place in Spain, which took 192 lives in the so-called Madrid blast.

[14:45:01] After that, there have also only been a few attacks perpetrated by ETA, which has now disbanded. So, the security services have been

effective in preventing attacks and arresting sort of suspected jihadists since 2004 until today 2017.

So, in that sense, we could say that they have been effective so far. And perhaps, what we need to say is that what's happening at the moment in

Spain is not peculiar to Spain. It does not have a Spanish explanation only. This is a common threat that Europe and its cities is facing. And

as a result, this is a problem that needs to be dealt not only with security, but social measures not only at national level, but at European

level and even international level.

HOLMES: Great insights. And we do appreciate it. Diego Muro, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

MURO: Thank you.

HOLMES: All right. Let's update you. Do a bit of a reset now and let you know what we know has been happening in Barcelona.

Government officials say at least 13 people were killed, more than 50 injured when a van plowed into crowds of people at high speed. This is

according to Catalan Police who do confirm that one person has been arrested. We don't know much detail about why he was arrested or what he

is accused of.

US officials have said that Spanish investigators believe the suspects involved in this attack may have been trying to reach a getaway vehicle,

but they don't know if they made it to that car.

Now, this van crashed into a walkway in the main square of the Las Ramblas, which is a popular tourist area in the city. It is still sealed off,

perhaps not surprisingly, as investigations continue.

Emergency services asking people in the area to stay inside. And if they are not in the area to keep away.

Earlier, Wolf Blitzer spoke to John Bothel who witnessed the aftermath of the attack. Let's listen to that.


JOHN BOTHEL, EYEWITNESS: I was just on Catalonian Square which is on the top of the Ramblas. It's like the main center of Barcelona. I'm just

working just next to here. And I was just on the street.

And what I saw is, like, an unusual image because everything is now with no people. The police is, like, closing all the area. It's everything full

of police and nobody there. And the police is, like, restraining all the - all the area because no one can access there.

Because they were saying - just when I was going through my - to the office, the police were saying that, go away. There's, like, an armed man

run away because here you cannot be here and all the people was, like, saying go inside, go inside the hotels, all the shops shut everything down.

And so, what I saw is, like, people running through the all directions and the police saying, then, shut down or get away because there's an armed man

here, so you have to run away or get inside somewhere.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: There's conflicting reports, John, whether or not there was one or two individuals involved in this car ramming in this

assault, and that they may have actually entered a restaurant or a bar in the area.

What can you tell us about that? If you know anything than at all.

BOTHELL: Yes. I just - some reports here on the radio station where I work at were telling us that there was fist just a van, the van that was

crashed just in front of the La Boqueria, the market of La Boqueria, where the attack has occurred.

And there were another van that hasn't been located and the police were saying that through, like, the social media, the Catalan police official

Twitter that were saying that there was another van that was being searched.

So, that's why the Catalan police was telling everything on this street, on this Catalonian Square and also, like, (INAUDIBLE) Ramblas that to get


Because what I saw also was full of armed policemen, like, searching and going through these narrow streets which cross the Ramblas on the main

square (INAUDIBLE) city center of Barcelona. Like, saying the people to get inside.

So, the sensation was that the attack was occurring at that moment.

BLITZER: So, the indications are that if there were one or two individuals involved, may have been one van, may have been two vans. But no one, as

far as you know, John, has so far been arrested? The suspect or suspects are at large. They are - they are - the police are looking for them. Is

that right?

BOTHELL: Yes, that's right. Because, in fact, the Catalan police has now, like, opened the perimeter. At first, it was just, like, the main center,

but now it has opened. Like, the - to the whole block.

Several blocks also, not from the main city center where they have, like, spread all the - all this shutdown of the city center. And, like, the

police doesn't get anywhere. Like, inside. They cannot get inside of a very big perimeter that, at first, it was much little.

[14:50:12] So, now, what they're saying is that, like, the person that has - or the persons, we cannot say that, that have been committed these

attacks are now not located.


HOLMES: Well, reaction is coming in to today's terror attack in Barcelona from all around the world. Let's give you some of that reaction now.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling the attack revolting. That's according to a tweet from her spokesperson. "We're mourning the victims of

this disgusting attack in Barcelona in solidarity and friendship, side by side with the Spanish."

US President Donald Trump pledging support, tweeting, "The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain and will do whatever is

necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!," the tweet says.

And the NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said, "We stand united in the fight against terrorism following the attack in Barcelona".

Peter Neumann leads the international center for study of radicalization and political violence at King's College here in London. He is an expert

on terror and online radicalization.

We were talking before this - we talk about Spain. We talk about France. We talk about London. But this is a broadly European issue.


your previous speaker Diego Muro was absolutely right in saying, it's wrong to focus on the city, on the country when this has been going on for two

years, almost every European country has been affected by now - Brussels, Berlin, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Paris. The list goes on.

Today, it is Barcelona. We're talking about Spain. But next week, it could be another city. So, it is important to look at this as a Europe-

wide phenomenon. From almost every country in Europe, people have gone to Syria to join ISIS. In almost every European Country, we've had people who

have been trying this kind of attack.

HOLMES: When we talk about being a European problem, what is the European solution? I suppose, that's the big question.

NEUMANN: I'm not sure there is one pan-European solution. The problem is everywhere the same, which is that you have these networks. If it was

ISIS, you have these networks of jihadi Salafist organizations, which are recruiting disgruntle people who are telling them you don't belong here, we

want to give you a role to play in life and then encourage them to carry out these attacks.

There is a social failure, a political failure, but also, of course, a security failure. There is a security failure across Europe. It wouldn't

surprise me, by the way, if it turns out that there was a cross-border dimension, if move people were involved. Barcelona is very close France.


NEUMANN: And the cross-border cooperation in European is still very (INAUDIBLE).

HOLMES: Which we've seen before, of course. Yes, I'm curious what your thoughts are on - we've seen ISIS squeezed territorially. Mosul has fallen

now. Raqqa is on the verge. There has been a push of ISIS territorially. Their Caliph is all but over. Has that or will that impact what happens in


NEUMANN: I think it is already impacting what happening in Europe. For about 12 months, we've now seen ISIS saying don't come to the Caliphate

anymore. Up until then, they were always saying, it is your duty to join us in the Caliphate.

Now, they're saying, stay where you are. You have permission to also go back if you're in the Caliphate and do something against our enemies where

we believe it hurts the most, which is at home. So, it is now the declared strategy of ISIS to carry out these kinds of attacks.

HOLMES: Because it's a preferred strategy or because the Caliphate is over.

NEUMANN: Yes, is by necessity.


NEUMANN: Because they are no longer capable of building and expanding the Caliphate, they're now saying we're returning to our roots, if you want.

We're carrying out terrorist attacks in the west.

HOLMES: It may seem like a simplistic question, but what is it they want, what is it they want to achieve with these terror attacks?

NEUMANN: I think there are two goals. One is clearly a sort of strategy of asymmetric warfare. They're saying, if you bomb us where we are in

Syria and Iraq, we will strike you where it hurts you the most, which is at home. And they're hoping that perhaps European publics will then push

their policymakers to leave the Caliphate alone.

The second strategy, I think, is to polarize European societies and to be very conscious that these kinds of attacks are actually causing a lot of

turmoil within European societies that they're encouraging people to become more extreme.

You've seen what's happened in France, for example, for the past two or three years that extremists on all sides of the political spectrum are

feeding off each other, that societies are becoming more extreme, that Muslims are feeling even more alienated and that perhaps, as a result, it

becomes easier for extremist groups to recruit. I think that's also part of their calculation.

[14:55:14] HOLMES: Yes. I know you've been working your sources and checking, what do you know about this suspect that's in custody? What do

you know about this?

NEUMANN: Well, I think it emerges now that he wasn't actually the person who was driving the van. The latest information seems to be that he was

the one renting the van. And that, of course, raises the question, did he actually know what he was doing, was he part of the plot or was he, if you

want, someone who just happened to be part of this without necessarily knowing it.

What we don't know is whether there was just one perpetrator or several. That is something apparently police is still investigating.

HOLMES: Yes. One presumes if you're a part of a terror plot, you wouldn't rent in your own name and be that easily found. So, it's going to be

interesting to see what his role is. But has been detained and no doubt being questioned.

Peter Neumann, thank you so much. Great, great insights there.

Now, just a short time ago, I did talk to an eyewitness, Ali Shirazinia. He described in really chilling form how he saw this attack unfold.


ALI SHIRAZINIA, EYEWITNESS: August is the busiest time of the year, I think, in Barcelona. There's tons of tourists. And the Ramblas is

probably the busiest tourist attraction in the city.

And it basically consists of a wide promenade and two narrow roads on either side for taxis and cars that are driving along.

And I was basically on my bike on the right side of the road. And I remember, literally a minute or two after riding past, I guess, their

equivalent of like a SWAT team guy with a big machine gun standing next to his truck, literally a minute after that, I heard a lot of screams.

And I looked over to my left and I saw all of the people along the promenade kind of split into two, some going right, the rest coming really

towards me screaming and running as fast as they could towards me.

And then I heard a very loud, kind of like, it sounded like the guy that was driving - whoever was driving the van kind of floored it and I see this

white van come. It looks like a utility truck or something, a white van with some blue writing on the side.

And it literally came straight down the Ramblas and ran into people on every side. And the Ramblas is full of pedestrians, street merchants,

street performers. And I saw people flying into the air and everybody was kind of running into the shops on either side of the Ramblas. And a lot of

people were in shock. And that's basically all I saw.

And then, actually right after that, I saw I think four or five uniformed police officers running after the van. There was actually a heavy police

presence in that area, like there has been all over Barcelona all summer long, but especially in that area.

So, I think there was already a really large police presence in that area that were able to act quickly somehow in going after whoever perpetrated



HOLMES: And that Ali Shirazinia, a witness to the attack, just a horrific scene unfolding before his eyes.

Now, just before the top of hour here in London, a reset on what has been happening in Barcelona, if you are just joining us.

Government officials saying at least 13 people killed, more than 50 injured when a van plowed into a crowd of people. This was according to Catalan

Police who confirmed one person has been arrested apparently, according to sources, linked to the rental of the van involved in this attack.

US officials have said Spanish investigators do believe the suspects might have been trying to reach a getaway vehicle at one point, but so far don't

know if they have made it to that car and, indeed, they don't know where they are. This van crashed into a walkway in the main square of Les


Our coverage continues with CNN US.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: - tourism spot in the center of Barcelona. We can now sadly report that at least 13 people have been

killed and more than 50 others are hurt.

We do have some video and we are just going to play you just a short clip to understand the atrocity and the terror of what has happened here in

Barcelona, but it is a graphic video. It is disturbing.