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tv   Wolf  CNN  August 17, 2017 10:00am-11:00am PDT

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i'm wolf blitzer in washington. wherever you're watching from around the world, thanks very much for joining us.
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we begin with the breaking news out of barcelona, spain. a van has crashed into a large crowd of people in what people are, what the police are calling a terror attack. we expect a news conference from the local police to begin any moment now. we'll have live coverage of that. here is what we know right now -- government officials report at least one death, 17 injured. this video shows the immediate aftermath. the area where this happened is very popular with tourists from around the world. you can see several people on the ground, the driver still unaccounted for. amative manhunt under way. you can see police clearing the nearby alley. witnesses say they have no doubt the crash was intentional. one person tells local media the van was traveling around 50 miles per hour, when it plowed into the crowd. another witness says they heard the sound of gunshots while they were hiding in the nearby store. cnn's michael holmes is
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following the developments for us. our justice correspondent evan perez is with me here in washington. michael, help us better appreciate exactly what has unfolded over the past hour or so. >> wolf when these sorts of things happen, of course, your first instinct is to hope it is not a terror attack. catalan police, you point out in the last few minutes, really, confirming that this is, indeed, being treated as a terror attack. they had activated their terror protocols earlier, but now confirming this indeed looks like an intentional attack on this most famous street in barcelona. a beautiful place. a lot of people watching may well have been there. a pedestrian thoroughfare, popular with tourists lined with shops and restaurants and bars, and remember, you're at the height of the tourist season. it's a sunny day in barcelona, late afternoon. it would have been teeming with people. some images we've seen from the
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street and the immediate aftermath show a number of casualties on the ground. the official word is one dead and more than a dozen injured, but, wolf, all indications are that number is way low. it's going to go up. we're hoping to hear more from police in a short time, in a news conference. the spanish prime minister has been tweeting saying that, cannot confirm the motive at the moment, but obviously it is a terror attack. you're talking about a street, las ramblas, about a kilometer or so, about a mile long and always at this time of day on a sunny summer day it would have people everywhere, and this van plowing in, 80 kilometers an hour. 50 miles an hour, as you said, it would have just been utter carnage and the scenes we've been seeing would reflect that. immediate police response, anti-terror security is on the scene as well.
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these reports still worrying that this is not over, in that two men are thought to be armed had gone into either a restaurant or a bar and barricaded themselves inside. still trying to get clarity on that situation of what is happening with those two men. there were reports in local media of hearing shots fired. we don't know how many people, if any, were in that restaurant or bar, and at the moment, police are trying to get clarity on exactly what is going on and the status of that standoff, wolf. >> you know, michael, hold on for a moment. we have someone who was an eyewitness to the afterfamath o this attack joining us on the phone. thanks very much for joining us. first of all, where were you and what did you see? >> caller: i was just on catalonian square. at the top of the ramblas,
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working next to here and just on the street, and what i saw is, like, unreasonable -- everything is now with, no people. police is, like, closing all the area. it's everything full of police and nobody there and the police is, like, restraining all the area, because no one can access there, wah they were saying just, when i was going through my, to the office, the police were saying that, go away. there's, like, an armed man. run away, because you cannot be here and all the people was, like, going inside the hotels, all the shop, shut everything down. and so what i saw is like people running through all directions and police saying, shut down or get away because there is an armed man here. so you have to run away or get inside somewhere. >> there's conflicting reports, john, whether or not there was one or two individuals involved in this car ramming in this
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assault, and that they may have actually entered a restaurant or a bar in the area. what can you tell us about that? if you know anything than at all. >> caller: yeah. i just -- some reports here on the radio station where i work telling us there was a person, a van that was crashed just in front of the market where the attack has occurred and another van that hasn't been located and the police were saying that through, like, the social media. on police official twitter saying there was another van that was, they are in search of. so that's why the catalonian police was telling everything on the street, on catalonian square and also all, through us a of ramblas to get inside. because when i saw also was armed police men like searching and going through these narrow streets, which cross the ramblas saying to people, get inside, so
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the sensation was that the attack was -- was occurring at that moment. >> so the indications are that if there were one or two individuals involved, may have been one van. may have been two vans, but no one, as far as you know, john harks so far been arrested? the suspect or suspects are at large? the police are looking for them. is that right? >> caller: yeah, that's right. because, in fact, the catalonian police have now, like, opened the perimeter. it was just like the main center but now it has opened it. like the, for the full block. several blocks also. not from the main city central where they have, like, spread all of these, the shut down of the city center and like the police doesn't get anywhere, like, inside they kind of get inside of a, a very big perimeter that at first it was much -- much little. so now what we're saying is that, like, the person that has, or the persons, we really cannot say that, that have been,
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committed these attacks are now not located. >> they're still at large. not yet located. standing by, john, by the way, for a police news conference and expect local police to be making a statement, giving some information. in fact, this may be it. let's listen in. i think we have translation. >> [ speaking in foreign language ]. >> unfortunately, we don't have translation. we'll work on that. we're going to get the translation for our viewers here in the united states and around the world, but we're getting more information right now. in the meantime, i want to bring in our senior national security analyst lisa monaco. what can you tell us, i assume you're checking your source what's may have happened in barcelona? >> reporter: thanks, wolf. obviously, this is unfortunately disturbingly reminiscent of the types of attacks we've seen elsewhere in europe. it was just over a year ago that we saw a truck in nice, france,
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brutally attack a crowd of revelers for bastille day. so what the authorities are going to be looking at first is, as your eyewitness just described, to understand the situation, to try and make sure that they have identified whether or not this is an ongoing situation. they're going to be pushing that perimeter out, as your eyewitness described, to separate out the civilians and the pedestrians who are there on that las ramblas from those who may be injured and needing assistance. they're going to try to stabilize that situation and understand if it's an ongoing attack, but this is the type of thing that has the hallmarks of isis-inspired violence. we do not know yet what the -- what the perpetrators were inspired by, if they were externally directed. if they were, in fact, isis
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operatives, but it certainly does have the hallmarks of the type of terrorist vile answer that has been called for in the past by the isis spokesman mohammed adnani, famously called in 2014 for isis sympathizers to act wherever they are, including using a car or a truck to kill civilians. >> yes. he made the point online. if you don't have a gun or a bomb, get a knife. if you don't have a knife, use a car. go ahead and do whatever you can to kill the infidels, but we don't know this is isis. lisa, hold on one second. evan perez, our gist is correspondent is with us as well working his sources. what are you picking up? >> well, in the brief minute we were able to hear the press conference, i heard the police official there say that there were 32 people injured, 1 person dead. they have kermed. kermed. confirmed.
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a lot more people are injure eddics the video indicates. perhaps a lot more dead we'll learn later on. obviously, in this country, lisa would know this from her experience, at this moment you have the fbi, national counterterrorism center, cia. all the intelligence community and agents in contact with spanish authorities to see if they can lend assistance. one of the big concerns for american authorities is whether any u.s. persons might be affected or injured or killed in this attack. the spanish police now cataluna police saying it was a terrorist attack. they say they're searching for the person driving the van, it's van that carried out this attack driving 50 miles an hour down this busy, busy corridor. 59-o at this point, wolf, i wasn't able to hear whether they have information about the reports of
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people being held hostage or two gunmen who had gone into a bar or a restaurant there near the scene. that obviously is something that they're still trying to figure out at this point, but the police didn't give clarity in the moment we were able to listen. >> they said, one dead. one confirmed dead. 32 people injured but they wept went ton say unfortunately they expect the death toll to rise as they get more information. our terrorism informationist paul crookshack is joining us now. you've been checking all the various sources. has any group, any individual, claimed credit for this? >> reporter: no claim of responsibility for from any group, isis or otherwise, for what appears to be some kind of attack today in barcelona, wolf. in terms of the modus operandi here as lisa was saying, this has the harmarks of an isis-inspired type of attack.
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certainly they've been incurringing followers to do, encouraging their followers in europe to launch multiphase attacks where first they attack with vehicles and then get out of the vehicles and carry on the attack either with blades or with guns. we saw that modus op pran deran out with the bridge in london in march of this year. saw that modus operandi more recently in london in june when three attackers in the evening launched a vehicle attack and then went out and started stabbing people in the market. all of those attacks believed to have been inspired at the very least by isis. it's early stages in the terms of information coming in, but this may well be another multiphase attack, where the same perpetrators who drove the vehicle into the crowds carried on their attack. it could still be an ongoing situation. we're still trying to figure that out, wolf.
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>> the isis-inspired attacks whether using a vehicle or knives or bombs, in europe, usually in france or belgium or the uk, spain, correct me if i'm wrong. not necessarily a, an immediate target, a major target. has it been? >> reporter: it's not been such a big target for isis. spain has not played the same role at the uk, germany, france or belgium in terms of the anti-isis coalition, in terms of air strikes in syria and iraq. while there have been almost 1,000 british extremists that have gone on to join these groups and almost 1,000 french, we've seen only a little over 100 spanish residents leave to go and fight with groups like isis and syria and iraq. the threat is less acute than it is in some other european countries, but they've been grappling with a radicalization
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problem for a while. and the madrid bombings, 2004, over 194 people were killed. this is not new. in the cross hairs of jihadi groups before. a plot all the way back in 2008 linked back to the pakistani taliban to bomb the barcelona metro. there have been arrests in recent years in barcelona linked to islamic state extremism. but at this point, we don't know the motive. there haven't been any eyewitness reports coming out yet of -- of the attackers, crying out, any particular phrases or anything like that, and so investigators will keep an open mind about what this is at this stage. >> i want to be precise. there have been other jihadi, al qaeda sympathizer attacks in spain, but if this were in fact an isis-related, isis organized or isis-inspired attack, would this be the first isis-related
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attack in spain? >> i believe it would. certainly the mass casualty attack that we have not seen any mass casualty attacks in spain related back to isis. so this would be a very significant and worrying moment for spanish authorities. but it comes, really, as no surprise. they've been preparing for this. they've known there's a threat out there. they've been stepping out in kind of terrorism activity, been around a couple hundred arrests of suspected islamic extreme s in the last few years since isis emerged in syria and iraq. so no surprises here. they knew this day might come, but what quite we're dealing with at the moment, we don't yet know, because there hasn't been any claim of responsibility. this is really just minutes, still, and, in fact, this attack may still be ongoing. >> local police says one dead. they expect that number to rise. 32 injured.
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many of them are in very serious condition in hospital. evan, more information? >> i wanted to add quick to what paul cruickshank was saying. this is something we've been talking to officials and law enforcements and the intelligence community in the last few months. they were expecting a very active summer. this is obviously a time when isis is under retreat. a lot of the fighters, the european fighters there are believed to have infiltrated back into europe, melting back into european society and the concern and the fear was that we would see a lot of attacks this summer. it hasn't materialized as much as people thought. this was the first this summer. earlier the market attack, obviously. a number of attacks and also attacks by simply people mentally deranged using trucks or cars to try to attack people. so we don't know exactly what this is, but it does bear the hallmarks of the great fear that you heard from law enforcement
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and from the intelligence community that this summer we were going to see a lot of this type of activity, because you have so many of these jihadis who had gone overseas to syria and iraq and returned back to europe. >> a major tour rift attraction, this area of barcelona, where this van rammed into the pedestrians. our chief national security correspondent jim sciutto, working his sources as well. what else are you hearing, jim? >> well, wolf, an eyewitness shared a video in the immediate minutes after the attack walking down the stretch of las ramblas, this tourist attraction in the middle of barcelona, and just a tangle of bodies, wolf. it was horrific to see, and the nature of the injuries so severe that it wouldn't be surprising to see the human toll of this rise. and evocative of those pictures, you and i remember, ow viewers as well, of the attack in nice. a long stretch of street with a
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lot of bodies left in the trail of the vehicle. and -- it's -- this is, the scale looks particularly alarming. that's one thing. two, spain has not had the numbers that st. france had, for instance, in terms of jihadi suspects et cetera or volunteers for isis in syria and iraq. that said, i was speaking to a security source in europe a short time ago who was just in barcelona in march, profiling what is still a large and insulated, isolated muslim community there. within it a militant presence authorities have been aware of. typical for them to penetrate because of the ins latularity o that group. national ties to lashnarr, a powerful pakistani terrorist group. so, at the top of the list, like
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belgium, for instance, or france it has had a presence and it's something that not just spanish authorities but u.s. authorities have been aware of. the final point, wolf, in light of the uproar over the last several days, five days apart you have whites supremacists in charlottesville use a vehicle to kill and here you have -- attackers at least following the modus operandi of terrorists using vehicles apparently to kill as well. and those shared tactics that should be alarming. >> yeah. and there will be questions about copycats. questions, if not what happened in barcelona, was at all, at all, a copycat version of what happened in charlottesville, virginia. even though they may be different characters and different political ambitions, they use the same killing device. a vehicle going at high speed into a group, a large group, of pedestrians and as local police
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are saying, at least one person is now dead. 32 injured. many of them in critical condition right now. they fully expect the death toll to go up. no official statement yet from u.s. officials, although the secretary of state rex tillerson and secretary of defense james mattis meeting at the state bept with japanese counterparts. speaking shortly. we'll see if they make a statement. a quick break. special breaking news coverage right after this. ♪ (music plays throughout) ♪
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secretary of state rex tillerson speaking on this terrorism. >> -- authorities in spain, or consulates in barcelona and entire mission spain team are currently assisting americans in spain who are affected by these events. we ask u.s. citizens in the year let your loved ones know you are safe. terrorists around the world should know the united states and our allies are re106r78ed e to -- resolved to find you and bring you to justice. secretary mattis and i are grateful for the opportunity to host the foreign ministers today. forged over previous decades bonds continued to endure. today's honest discussions reaffirmed our mutual commitment to confronts threats to region the peace and security. we spent a fair amount of time discussing north korea.
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north korea's recent intercontinental ballistic mitche mitchell launches must stop immediately. we ay greed to bolster -- >> we'll continue to monitor secretary of state rex tillerson meeting with counterpart secretary of defense james mattis. you heard the secretary of state condemn clearly what's emerging as a terrorist operation in barcelona when a large, white van at high speed rammed into a crowd of pedestrians killing at least one individual, although that death toll is expected to go up, injuriing 32 others. several in critical condition in local hospitals right now. mi michael homs is getting more information. what else are you learning? >> reporter: wolf, i heard we're waiting for a catalan government
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to make a statement. they're in session to discuss this dreadful episode. the path this van went, it went a long way down this pedestrian way, this las ramblas, about three quarters of a mile long and the van travel add loed a l down that road, teeming with pedestrians. eyewitnesses saying it was absolutely packed, you can imagine, on a sunny summer's afternoon in a major tourist spot like barcelona, and this is the most famous street in barcelona for tourists. packed with shops, bars, restaurants, and the van "apparently plowing down the middle of las ramblas, swerving from side to side and taking out as many people as possible. in the aftermath it was really a scene of carnage. of people lying on the road, clearly some dead, or not moving, at least.
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officially the death toll still only at one, with 17 injured. many of them in critical condition, but as jim was saying and others have said, too, it's fairly certain that death toll's going to go up from the images we've seen of the aftermath. there's still the uncertainty over what's happening now. eyewitnesses said the driver got out of the van and took off, and then there were reports of two men armed reportedly going into a bar in the area, and barricading themselves inside. very little information since then on what is happening with that situation. the terror alerts or protocols were activated very soon after this incident occurred, but authorities were very cautious not to call it a terror attack until about 30, 40 minutes ago. they actually said, this is a terror attack. so obviously, intent involved.
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this was no scent, and authorities are still on the scene there trying to work out exactly how this happened. a lot of people watching would have been there, too, in las ramblas. i certainly haven't. it's a beautiful part of a beautiful city and just a dreadful situation, and as your guests have been saying, and paul and jim and others, this is just the latest in a series of these sorts of attacks, though, around europe. the first in barcelona from memory, but, of course, we saw what happened in nice and we saw what also happened in tunisia and then in london as well. this low-tech attack. what is happening with these armed gunmen in this bar? we're yet to find out. this could stit be an ongoing situation, woman. >> seems reminiscent. you covered it, i covered it, the terror attack in nice, france, where a vehicle was used as a weapon, and unfortunately killed a lot of people.
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>> reporter: exactly. yes. more than 80 people killed in that attack, driving a truck down that thoroughfare, in nice on bastille day. a horrible, horrible incident, but this sort of speaks to -- it speak to a couple of things, i think, wolf. first of all, comparatively, awful to say, but how easy it is to bring carnage and terror to the streets of any capital, but in this case, a major european capital, with one van driving down a crowded area. it's part of the isis m.o. now. they've calmed on their people in europe and elsewhere to do precisely this sort of attack. and also the fact, too, now is isis is being squeezed in iraq and also in syria, that a lot of european isis members are heading home, and you know, they've been urged to carry out attacks like this as well. you -- you don't need an
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automatic weapon to create carnage. you need a van and a crowded place, and unbelievably and tragically it's that simple, wolf. >> yes. we did hear the u.s. secretary of state rex tillerson say this was an act of terror. they're investigating and urging all americans citizens in this very popular tourist area of barcelona to stay away and stay away as quickly as possible. we did just see a tweet from the first lady of the united states, melania trump. here's her tweet -- thoughts and prayers to #barcelona. from melania trump, first lady of the united states. and quickly bring in law enforcement analyst art roderick. art, this investigation clearly is only just beginning. no group has claimed responsibility for what clearly is a terror attack. this large white van plowing into a huge crowd of pedestrians going at high speeds, but as we've been pointing out, it does have all the hallmarks of at least, we don't know this for
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sure, no one claimed responsibility, some sort of isis-inspired event at a minimum? >> yes. absolutely, wolf. i think the -- the hard thing here is, these types of attacks are almost impossible to stop. they're very simple. they're using a vehicle. plowing through crowds. we just had this same incident happen in charlottesville a few days ago, and this is the scary part of it. law enforcement instituted counterterrorism protocols right after this attack. that's a very good indication that they're doing house-to-house searches right now. looking at this particular -- looking for these individual or individuals that were involved in this particular thing. so that's a very good indication that they're on top of it. it's just very odd that we haven't heard any information yet on what actually is occurring at this particular point in time. >> well, these reports that at least one, maybe two individuals
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got out of those vans and went into a bar and, or a restaurant, that's right in the that really very popular tourist area, and police are going through that location right now. you've heard those reports. if, in fact, that's true, then this raises the specter, especially if these individuals are armed or have knives? >> exactly. i mean, we've seen this type of attack before. where individuals get out of their vehicles and enter a residence or a -- or a business -- and-i mean, law enforcement has to respond very quickly to these types of situations, because these types of individuals negotiate for one reason and that's only to take out more people. to kill more people. so hopefully law enforcement is all over this. it looks from the video we've watched we've seen house-to-house, business-to-business searches. so hopefully they're circumstan circling in on these particular
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individuals and i'm sure at this point in time, they valuate more information than we are discussing right now on -- on the news. >> i'm sure they do. all right. everybody stand by. we're going to continue our special breaking news coverage. a terror attack in barcelona, spain. at least one person killed, 32 injured. local police say that number will go up. several of those injured are in critical condition in hospitals right now.
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following the breaks news out of barcelona, spain where a van rammed at high-speed into a crowded group of pedestrians in a very popular tourist area of
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barcelona. one dead, 32 injured and expecting the death toll to go up. several people are seriously injured in local hospitals. we've just received new video in to cnn, and i want to warn viewers here in the united states and around the world what you're about to see is very, very tough to watch. [ sirens ] [ sirens ] >> [ speaking in foreign language ]. >> very tough to watch indeed. you see -- bodies lying there, some of them -- clearly, clearly -- in enormous pain. evan, saw the video before we just showed it to viewers here on cnn. and this -- this -- and oui we
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fear is only just the beginning. >> exactly, wolf. you have to remember with this type of scenario, as we saw in nice last year, you know, you have -- a big crowd. >> this is more video just coming in. hold on a moment and let's watch this. [ sirens ] >> hey, slow down!
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>> yes. very disturbing to watch indeed. and as we goethe have suggested, more unfortunately will be coming -- go ahead. >> right, wolf. again, one of the things you might remember from nice last year, and some of these scenes is, you have a big crowd of people, and then you have a van coming through. 50 miles an hour or so according to witnesseses. and you have a stampede that begins. people are fleeing in different directions, and some of the injuries and even perhaps some of the deaths that happened in these were because of the stampede, the number of people who fell and others just trampled over them. so that, according to the local authorities, that we've seen, you know, the concern is that that could also be the case here. they've only reported officially one person dead, but just from the tone of the official who did the press conference just a while ago, he basically suggested that there's going to be a lot more dead simply because of the number of people who were very, very severely
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injured from this scene we watched there, and you know, monitoring the twitter page and facebook page of the local police there, they are asking for information from people. obviously one of the things that the local media is now reporting, wolf, there have been at least one were person detained, perhaps the person who rented the van. again, that's something that the local media is reporting. the local police have not yet made any announcements whether or not anybody else is detained but i guess that's one of the things, if you're an investigator, one of the things you want to do. look at license plate of the van and figure out who owns it, whether or not it was rented recently. who that person might be. according to local media, they've already made one arrest of that person who was responsible for renting this van. we don't know whether that person was involved. obviously, you could tell in some of the incidents, can you have a stolen van to could be involved as well. we don't know enough from local
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authorities, but that is a big development for investigators there. they now know who rented the van, can talk to that person. figure out whether or not that person was in control of the van when this occurred. and obviously, still reports whether or not a couple of people went into a local bar or restaurant near the scene and who may still be holed up there. we haven't gotten clarity from the local authorities as to whether or not that is true or not. >> seems to be a feature of if, in fact, this vehicle, white van that rammed into this huge crowd of pedestrians was rented. we've seen that before in europe. >> seen it before. also seen stolen vans in berlin, for instance, or stolen vehicles in the case of the berlin attack, and christmas, you had a -- an attack who essentially took over a vehicle from someone and killed the driver, the person who was authorized to have that vehicle, and then carried out his deadly attack. so we've seen various types of situations here and so we don't know whether or not this person who's been now -- arrested,
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according to local reports, whether that person actually had anything to do with this, but obviously that is something the local authorities are looking into, and one more thing we ought to think about here, wolf, trying to figure out what the motive might be. obviously, terror is now the -- the motive that people, the local authorities they are now saying is what was behind this, but we don't know who, which group, might be behind it. one of the things that the u.s. authorities are trying to assist spanish authorities with right now is to see whether or not on telegram, any of these other parts of the internet, whether anyone has posted a video taking responsibility, perhaps taking authorship of this attack. we've seen that before in previous attacks. someone, right before they carried out their attack, they upload a video swearing allegiance to a particular group, perhaps isis or another group and that is something right now u.s. authorities are looking for, trying to figure out whether or not someone who was behind this might have left behind something to claim
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authorship, and allegiance, to any particular group. that's going on right now in the u.s. intelligence community and the fbi. >> looking for anything that could help better understand what exactly happened. stand by for a moment. i want to bring in an eyewitness. works as a restaurant. what? about 65 feet or so from where this attack took place. tell us where you are right now, what you're seeing? i understand the local police have homed you up. tell us what's going on. >> caller: well, we are closer to police, four hours ago. we have 20 person here, scared, and some from -- come running from the street, and we know what we can do and we know the terrorists have a harostage in another bar close to here. we try to go out and no way. we scared and we know lots of dead persons and a lot of
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injuries. and it's a very crazy situation, the people here is praying, and we don't know. we don't know what it is here. really crazy. >> you work in that restaurant, at that bar. we have a picture, in fact. everybody who is there inside with you right now. so basically, you're prevented from leaving. you have to stay inside while police go through the area searching for one or two or other suspects. is that right? >> caller: yeah. we are here four hours, closed by the police and don't know when we can come out because they know they have a terrorist close in another bar, two minutes from here and they have -- with a hostage and we don't know nothing. we try to go out and police say, no. no. wait inside and we don't know. this is very, very crazy situation. for us. and everyone is scared here. we have people from everywhere.
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chinese, tal italia and france england and everybody goes to the bar, to save their life, of course, and we closed the bar when they enter, and -- so we are here. we don't know. >> good luck. a bartender. he's holed up in this one restaurant/bar as police search this area for suspects. i want to bring in former cia operative bob baer, with us as well. bob, unfortunately this is becoming an all too frequent kind of attack and now the investigation. >> exactly, wolf. using trucks, using vans. running down people. in august in spain. streets are crowded. they get the maximum publicity. these communities in europe, these jihadists, they're hard to stamp out. especially in spain. spain has been at this since 9/11. some of the 9/11 hijackers had associations with spain.
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and the police are very good, but, you know, getting rid of these communities and the fact they've reverted to weapons that are so easy to obtain. whether you steal or rent a truck and cause mass casualties, is a problem that's not going to go away anytime soon. >> yes. certainly isn't. evan perez is still with us as well. evan, you're getting more information? >> our shimonreporter says adding to the confusion there in barcelona, that local investigators believe there was a getaway vehicle that the suspects may have been trying to reach and that perhaps might explain a little of the confusion as to whether or not there was one van or whether there are two vehicles. we heard from one of the eyewitnesses that we spoke earlier there was a search going on of a second vehicle. so that may explain what shimon prokupecz is hearing from a u.s. official. again, this u.s. official is
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relaying information from spanish investigators who believe there was a getaway vehicle at the scene, that the suspects may have been trying to get to, and, again, that doesn't fully explain what the other reports, including from the man you just spoke to on-air, the bartender there at at restaurant nearby who says they're holed up, not allowed to leave, because they are -- there's a scene there nearby, just a few meters away, where there are believed -- there is believed to be a hostage situation. so perhaps maybe because of the crowded situation, because of the stampede, maybe because of something else. maybe the police response. these attackers were not able to get away and that's the reason why they got into a nearby restaurant and are now holed up. again, that's based on the various eyewitness accounts we've gotten including from the eyewitness who you just spoke to on-air. >> very, very disturbing developments. our terrorism analyst paul ch k cruickshank is with us as well.
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you're monitoring websites to see if anyone is claiming responsibilities for what clearly is emerging as a terror attack? >> no claim whatsoever from isis or any other established terrorist outfit. it's early hours still. those claims can come a day later, two days later, several days later. wolf, if, indeed there was some kind of link back to an organized terror group. with some of these attacks in europe we've found, as part of the investigation, they've found that these people were only inspired by isis or al qaeda, though. didn't have any communication or connection to the group. in other attacks like the recent berlin attack last christmas there were communications going back and forth with isis. in that case, with isis in libya using encrypted apps which are very, very difficult for western intelligence agencies to track. the fact they used primitive weapons here, a vehicle, might
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suggest that they -- may not have got training. we saw with the manchester attack, a more sophisticated type of attack was used in respect may not be any connection in terms of travel overseas. a number of spanish residents have joined groups like isis. more than 100 have made the trip to syria and iraq in the last few years. some have come back. but that number's less than the number in other european countries, like france and britain and germany, and in those countries they almost, almost 1,000 people have gone from each of those countries. nevertheless, significant concern that spain could be a target. there have been threats against spain by these various jihadi groups and, of course, the worst terrorist attack since 9/11 in the west was in madrid in 2004 with
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>> it's another awful situation there in barcelona right at the height of the tourism season. i want to bring in another eye-witness to this tragic event. ella is from atlanta, georgia. i take it you were at a restaurant when this occurred. tell us where you were. tell us what you saw. >> caller: yeah, so we were at -- it was called plaza real. it's literally right off las ramblas. we were winding down for our afternoon meal, i guess, and we were kind of looking at all the menus in the plaza and all of a sudden, there was kind of a commotion and we turned around, and everyone was just running, and it took us a second to sort of understand what was going on, and it was just really confusing, and once we saw that everyone was running, we just started running too. we didn't even know what we were ru running from. so we passed a few restaurants, and then still in the plaza and
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then like maybe two or three restaurants down, people just started saying, come in here, come in here. so, we followed a bunch of people inside the restaurant and ended up running to the back and hiding in the bathroom with two people from, i don't know, somewhere in europe. they weren't speaking english. and the girl was crying, and we were kind of freaked out. we had no idea what was going on. and we stayed -- there were some people in the restaurant lobby, i guess, looking out, and all we could see from the windows was just people running around in the plaza. yeah, it was really scary. we finally went out, maybe like ten minutes later, and one of my friends had service, so we looked it up, and people were saying it was a car accident, and then we saw that it was, like, a, you know, it was intentional, and then we were about to leave the restaurant and just head back to our airbnb and then people started running
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again, and i think that was just maybe the aftermath, like the cops were pushing people back or something, but people started running again, so we went downstairs in the restaurant to the basement, i guess, and there was a woman with her baby, and there was a woman with a bunch of kids and we were kind of just like, hiding, i guess. we had no idea what was going on. we didn't know if there was someone -- it was scary. so we were probably down there for another ten minutes and then we decided it was best to just get out of the area. so, we had to swing really wide, because ramblas and placa catalunya are all closed off, so we swung really wide and walked the long way around and, yeah, we're back at our airbnb now so we're safe. but it was really scary. >> are you back out of that area now, ella? are you okay? i take it, are you just a tourist visiting barcelona? >> caller: yeah, i'm visiting, yes. me and two friends are here for four days or so, just sightseeing and stuff.
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yeah. our airbnb is probably maybe five or eight blocks away from placa catalunya. yeah. >> yeah, you okay? >> caller: we're just going to stay inside, i think. we're okay. it was scary. >> yeah, well, i'm glad you're okay and i'm sure it was very, very scary. the last thing you obviously kneaded to be an eye-witness to was a terror attack right in the heart of beautiful barcelona, spain. ella, thank you so much for sharing your eye-witness account with our viewers here in the united states and around the world. you know, evan, you're monitoring local media in barcelona. what else are you picking up? >> reporter: radio tv espana, which is the public broadcaster there is now among the media reporting that at least one person has been detained. one person was arrested. it appears to be the same person that some of the other local media, including "el pais" the major newspaper there in spain was reporting that was arrested
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and was detained at the scene there. this is a person, according to the local reports, who may have rented the van that was used in this attack. again, we don't know whether that person was behind the wheel of the van when it was -- when the attack occurred or whether this person is simply being questioned by police because he was the person that last rented the van. so, again, that's not clear from the reports that we're seeing now in local media. but now we've got the public broadcasters there which is joining some of the other media there in spain that is saying that one person, at least one person, one of the suspects behind this attack is now been arrested, and so now obviously, police are trying to interview that person, and they're still working on trying to figure out what is going on in this bar or this restaurant nearby where the local eye-witnesses say that at least two people may be holed up, perhaps with hostages following this attack. again, that has not been made
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clear by the police. the local media is reporting some of this based on their own local sources. >> it's interesting, art, we don't know, no group has claimed responsibility for what clearly has been a major terror attack right in the beautiful tourist area of barcelona. right now, the local police say once again, one person confirmed dead, 32 people injured. they expect the number of deaths to go up because several of those people are in very critical condition right now. it does make a difference whether this attack was inspired by a terror group, let's say isis, or if it was organized, right? explain the difference, and what it means for counterterror authorities. >> i mean, when you look at the aspect of how this was put together, i mean, this, again, i mean, we've heard a lot of people talk about it, was a pretty simple incident when you think about the vehicle being
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used, possibly firearms. these are very simple incidents, and i think that's the difference when you look at those that are inspired and those that are organized. you generally see a lot more planning, a lot more casualties. i mean, i think the number is going to go up here, but that's the difference is the organization behind how they figure out how to put these types of things together and we've seen the full gamut of just somebody using a knife all the way up to using explosives, and that's the difference between being inspired and the difference of a very organized type of attack. this here was very simple. it was done with a vehicle during -- they picked a very soft target. it's a tourist attraction there. there was a lot of people on the street. it was right around dinnertime, and i think one of the other things too is we just had the -- just heard from the u.s. citizen on, it's imperative that all u.s. citizens that are in this area get in touch with the embassy and let them know they're okay. because i know that's occurring
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over there right now where the u.s. embassy is trying to account for all u.s. citizens that were in this particular area. >> if this were -- and bob, you've studied this for a long time, former cia operative, if this were, in fact, isis or some other jihadi-inspired or organized terror attack, remind our viewers why the purpose would be to simply go into a heavily populated tourist area, very popular with international tourists in barcelona and simply drive at 50 miles an hour, at high speed, into this area to try to kill and injure as many men, women, and children, young and old as possible. what's the point? >> well, wolf, we have to consider that most of these jihadists are not really conversant in islam. many of them are reborn muslims. they're looking -- they're reading the internet. they're reading, you know, fatwas, orders from syria, from raqqa that says kill as many as you can, and what, in their
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minds, this is a clash of civilizations. you know, they think the christian west is after them, and the only way to survive is to lash out and kill as many people in the west as they can, and they think that means their survival. it's very simplistic but very lethal and very difficult for the police in europe to deal with because these people can plan this in a day, get a truck. they know what to do, and there's no heads up and they don't need any contact with syria to carry an operation like this out. >> yeah, it's a very, very simple operation, and isis has told its supporters online, going back a few years, you know, if you have a bomb, use a bomb. if you have a gun, use a gun. if you don't have a bomb or a gun, use a knife. if you don't have a knife, get a car and drive into a crowd of people. that's the message they have circulated over these years, and clearly, with some of these individuals, that has resonated, bob. >> oh, absolutely.
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and that's -- and you know, the more difficult it becomes for them, the more casualties they take in syria, and they are losing, i think, as we've predicted, you and i have talked about this, the more reaction we're going to see in europe. and for americans in europe, especially in august, stay out of crowded areas. that's the best way to stay safe. >> this is going to hurt tourism, there's no doubt about that. just as the attack in nice hurt, but a lot of these communities, a lot of these centers, very popular centers, they certainly have a way of bouncing back, bob. and they do. people come, they want to go. they want to see. they don't want to -- the terrorists to win in this effort. >> no, we can't, and we can't react this -- we can't overreact. we just have to arrest the people involved, try them, and hope this virus dies out of its own accord, and things are getting better, in fact. there's not as many casualties as i thought there would be this
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summer. >> bob, thanks very much. thanks to all our correspondents and analysts. we're following the breaking news out of barcelona, spain. at least one person dead, 32 injured. cnn will stay on top of the breaking news. don't go away. our special live coverage our special live coverage continues right now. -- captions by vitac -- we're going to continue this live coverage of this terror attack in barcelona, spain. this is around dinnertime, summer, august, just imagine the crowds there in this part of barcelona, this massive white van plowed, going roughly 50 miles an hour, through this crowd of pedestrians in las ramblas. this is this pedestrian, gorgeous walkway, tourist spot in the heart of barcelona. we know at least one person has been killed, 32 are injured, and