A terrorist attack with a van has claimed many lives in Barcelona. | David Armengou

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A van crashed into dozens of people in Barcelona's city centre at around five o'clock this afternoon.

Police (Mossos d’Esquadra) sources say that up to fifty were injured in a "massive crash". Thirteen people have died. Catalonia's emergency services have told people not go to the area around Plaça Catalunya.

The van entered the pedestrian walkway at the start of Las Ramblas and hit people along the central boulevard. It is said to have been travelling at high speed. A taxi driver has told TVE that the driver of the van was knocking down whoever he could. Another eye-witness reports hearing shots.

Metro and train stations have been closed, and restaurants, shops and hotels have been ordered to put up shutters and to allow no one to go onto the streets.

The police have confirmed that the incident was a terrorist attack and have activated their protocol for such an attack. They are searching for the driver of the white Fiat van who fled the scene on foot.

Mossos have released information about one of the suspected terrorists, giving his name as Driss Oukabir. Two arrests have been made. One of the suspects has been shot dead by police (information as of 20.45).

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said that he is in contact with authorities, and that the priority is to attend to the injured.

The incident took place at the height of the tourist season in Barcelona, which is one of Europe's top travel destinations with at least 11 million visitors a year.