'It was horrible, there was panic' - locals and tourists take shelter across Barcelona city centre
Locals and tourists alike are taking shelter across the centre of Barcelona as a massive anti-terror operation takes place.
Police are hunting for the man who fled on foot from a van which ploughed through crowds in as Rambla area.
They have asked people to avoid the area around Placa Catalunya and have asked people to let their friends and families know they are 'okay' by social media, so as not to block phone lines.
John Dineen (40), a barman from Mill Street, County Cork, said he was walking in the city with his six-year-old daughter when he heard ambulance sirens in the streets.
“I got a telephone call from my wife and father-in-law telling me to get home immediately,” said Mr Dineen, who works in the Michael Collins Irish Bar in the city.
“All public transport shut down. The ambulances were flying around. The police presence quadrupled on the streets.
“People are just numbed by what happened. They’re very worried,” he said, after taking up duty in the bar last night.
“There are a lot less people out in the city tonight. We’ve cancelled all music in the pub as a mark of respect,” he said.
My thoughts are with the victims of this barbaric terrorist attack in the great city of Barcelona and with their brave emergency services.— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) August 17, 2017
One witness told Independent.ie how he is taking shelter in a museum in the city centre.
"A load of people screaming just ran into the museum I'm just after walking into and they've shut the whole place down," he said.
Meanwhile, others have "taken shelter in shops", according to a witness on Twitter.
The man, writing on Twitter, said people are being treated by medical personnel at the scene.
An Irish man living in Barcelona said he is shaken following the attack.
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Aidan McGovern originally from Carrigaline, Co Cork owns a gallery in the Spanish city centre. He told Independent.ie that the attack has left him shaken.
"I'm pretty shook up and taken aback. I'm close to the area. It's very scary.
"A buddy of mine saw the van plough through the crowd and get out of the van running. It's pretty grim here right now," he added.
Meanwhile, student Marc Esparcia (20) told the BBC: "There was a loud noise and everybody ran for cover. There were a lot people, lots of families [at the site], this is one of the most visited sites in Barcelona.
"I think several people were hit. It was horrible, there was panic. Terrible."
Witness Ethan Spibey told Britain's Sky News: "All of sudden it was real chaos. People just started running screaming, there were loud bangs. People just started running into shops, there was a kind of mini-stampede where we were, down one of the alleyways."
He said he had taken refuge with dozens of other people in a nearby church.
"They've locked the doors because I'm not sure whether the person who may have done it has actually been caught, so they've locked the doors and told people just to wait in here."
He said he was now taking cover inside a Starbucks coffee shop.