Catalan police said on Twitter that a bomb squad in Cambrils would carry out several controlled explosions after they determined that the attackers were carrying explosive belts. They called on people in the town not to go out on the streets.
"We arrested a man and we are treating this as a terrorist attack", Catalonian police said on Twitter. The Spanish El Periodico newspaper reported earlier on Thursday, that two police officers had been injured in the shootout with suspected terrorists. One person is a Spanish national from Melilla and the other is from Morocco. Neither was determined to be the driver of the van, who is believed to have escaped.
The ISIS media wing, Amaq, has said the Barcelona attackers were "soldiers of the Islamic State", but stopped short of explicitly claiming responsibility for the attacks or providing evidence for their claims.
Police have connected the incident to a house explosion in Alcanar, Spain, Wednesday night. At least 13 persons were killed and more than 100 injured. One Canadian visitor who had been there an hour before the incident said there were throngs of people milling about as one might see at Times Square in NY.
Police described a separate incident in which a auto trying to get past a Barcelona checkpoint hit an officer and another person, police said. Police confirmed that Oukabir is one of the detained individuals.
Authorities are searching for the driver of the van.
"I saw people flying into the air and everyone was running into the shops on either side", witness Ali Shirazinia told CNN.
On Thursday, a van charging down the tourist-flooded thoroughfare of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring 80 others. Interior Minister Forn said the Festa Major de Gracia, an iconic Barcelona celebration that began on Tuesday and was slated to end next Monday, would be cancelled.
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Juncker also issued a statement and said that "the Commission is at the full disposal of the authorities for any help or assistance necessary".
"I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas and I immediately knew that it was a terrorist attack or something like that", eyewitness Tom Gueller told the BBC.
Those responsible for the attack will be brought to justice, Rajoy said, stressing that the response to the terrorism needs to be global.
Barcelona residents are suffering "the same pain and the same uncertainty" as their neighbors in Madrid, Paris, Nice, Brussels and London, Rajoy said.
The aftermath of the Spain terrorist attack in Barcelona.
City officials ordered all public events to be canceled, while emergency services requested the closure of metro and train stations in the area.