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Barcelona police search city center for van driver who mowed down dozens


Armed policemen stand in a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona on August 17, 2017.

Josep Lago | AFP | Getty Images

Armed policemen stand in a cordoned off area after a van ploughed into the crowd, injuring several persons on the Rambla in Barcelona on August 17, 2017.

Authorities urged people to avoid the area around Placa Catalunya. Emergency services asked people in the area to remain inside until police announce it’s safe to leave.

The Associated Press reported that police are cordoning off the popular area and ordering nearby stores and train stations to close.

Mariano Rajoy, prime minister of Spain, said he is in contact with authorities and that the priority is to attend to the injured.

A White House official told NBC News that White House chief of staff John Kelly is aware of the situation and keeping President Donald Trump informed.

A man on a bus tweeted out a video at the location of emergency responders rushing past.

Police are clearing people off the street.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

— Reuters, NBC News and The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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