PARIS — A van driver smashed into a bustling commercial center in the heart of Barcelona Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring scores more, according to news reports.
Spanish police are calling the incident a terrorist attack and have urged people in the Mediterranean port city to stay off the streets to clear the way for emergency vehicles and police inspections.
The bloodshed took place on the popular Las Ramblas boulevard lined with shops and restaurants, adding Spain to the list of other European countries experiencing similar vehicle attacks in recent months.
In the worst such attack, a man rammed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in the French seaside city of Nice last year, killing 86. The killings cast a pall on the country’s tourist industry, which has just begun to show signs of recovery, a year later.
Thursday’s attack comes as Spain is set to reach record levels of income from tourism. The World Travel and Tourism Council estimates the industry will bring nearly 60 billion euros to the country’s economy this year, an almost 4 percent rise from the previous year.