A Maltese student has spoken of her shock after being caught up in the Barcelona terror attack.
Bernice Bonello, 18, admitted she ‘had a lucky escape’ after at least 13 people were killed and dozens injured when a van ploughed into pedestrians in a busy tourist street.
The teenager from Fgura, who is in the Spanish city with her boyfriend, was taking holiday photos in Las Ramblas just seconds before the attack happened.
She told NetNews.com.mt: ‘We then crossed the road to a restaurant when we noticed a lot of ambulances arriving right outside.
‘At first we thought it there had been a normal road accident around the corner but then we realised that something much more serious had happened as crowds of people started running into the shopping centre in panic.
‘Children were screaming. It was terrible.
‘There were police everywhere and ambulances, the shops started putting the shutters down.’
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, describing the killers as ‘soldiers of the Islamic state’.
Maltese people living in the Catalan city also expressed their shock at the terror attack.
Chris Muscat Azzopardi, 38, moved to Spain almost 10 years ago.
He said he lives only five minutes away from where the attack took place.
También darnos cuenta que en otros países esto es el menú del día. Vaya mundo hemos creado. Tristeza profunda.
Joseph Muscat said Malta ‘stands with Spain against terror’ following the deadly attack in Barcelona.
The Prime Minister condemned the ‘terrible’ assault in the Spanish city which saw a van plough into pedestrians and follows a spate of similar attacks in London in recent months.
Dr Muscat wrote on Twitter: ‘First indications from our Madrid embassy and Spanish authorities are that there are no Maltese nationals amongst victims.’
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil tweeted: ‘Sincere solidarity with the victims and families of today’s terror attack in Barcelona. You are in our thoughts and prayers.’
Here’s what we know so far about the Barcelona terror attack:
At least 13 people have died and 80 people are in hospital.
Catalonia’s regional interior chief Joaquim Forn added: ‘Unfortunately the number of fatalities will likely rise.’
Identities of victims have not been confirmed as yet.
A Belgian national is among the dead, Belgium’s deputy prime minister Didier Reynders confirmed on Twitter.
Who is behind the attack?
Two suspects have been arrested and are being treated ‘as terrorists’, Catalan Police have confirmed.
It is as yet unclear if the driver of a white Fiat van, who fled on foot after the attack in Las Ramblas, has been arrested.
There are no armed men holed up in a bar near the scene as was originally thought.
Catalan police said: ‘The protocol for terrorist attacks has been activated.’
The Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility.
Where did it take place?
Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations.
People walk down a wide, pedestrian path in the center of the street but cars can travel on either side.
What do the Maltese officials say?
Joseph Muscat says his thoughts are with victims of the ‘terrible attack’ in Barcelona and ‘Malta stands with Spain against terror’.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman in Valletta said: ‘We are in contact with the Spanish authorities and seeking more information following the incident in Barcelona.
‘Anyone in the area should follow the advice of the Spanish emergency services.’
If you’re concerned about a friend or relative in Spain, the Maltese Embassy in Madrid has set up an emergency hotline on +3491 391 3061.
Or your can email [email protected]
El horror llega a nuestra ciudad. pic.twitter.com/ljPkPztFQq
— Arturo Fernández Rui (@Arturof66R) August 17, 2017