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Deadly van attack in Barcelona claimed by ISIS

A white van plowed into a packed summer crowd Thursday in Barcelona’s historic Las Ramblas district, killing some people and sending dozens fleeing. Barcelona police called it a terror attack and local media reported up to 13 dead.

Catalan police tweeted “there are mortal victims and injured from the crash” without specifying any numbers. Spanish media, including Cadena SER radio station and TV3, reported up to 13 dead, while other media had varying death tolls.

Police cordoned off the broad street that is so popular with tourists, ordering stores and nearby Metro and train stations to close. They asked people to stay away from the area so as not to get in the way of emergency services. A helicopter hovered over the scene.

Quoting unnamed police sources, the El Pais newspapers said the two perpetrators of the crash were holed up in a bar in Tallers Street. Armed police ran down the streets and through a market, checking in stores and cafes, presumably in search of them.

In photographs and videos, at least five people could be seen lying on the ground in the streets of the northern Spanish city Thursday afternoon, being helped by police and others. Other video recorded people screaming as they fled the van.

Las Ramblas, a street of stalls and shops that cuts through the center of Barcelona, is one of the city’s top tourist destinations. People walk down a wide, pedestrian path in the center of the street but cars can travel on either side.

Keith Fleming, an American who lives in Barcelona, was watching TV in his building just off Las Ramblas when he heard a noise and went out to his balcony.

“I saw women and children just running and they looked terrified,” he said.

He said there was a bang — possibly from someone rolling down a store shutter — and more people ran by. Then police arrived and pushed everyone a full block away. Even people leaning out of doors were being told to go back inside, he said.

Fleming said regular police had their guns drawn and riot police were at the end of his block, which was now deserted.

“It’s just kind of a tense situation,” Fleming said. “Clearly people were scared.”

Carol Augustin, a manager at La Palau Moja, an 18th-century place on Las Ramblas that houses government offices and a tourism information center, said the van passed right in front of the building.

“We saw everything. People started screaming and running into the office. It was such a chaotic situation. There were families with children. The police made us close the doors and wait inside,” she said.

Cars, trucks and vans have been the weapon of choice in multiple extremist attacks in Europe in the last year.

The most deadly was the driver of a tractor-trailer who targeted Bastille Day revelers in the southern French city of Nice in July 2016, killing 86 people. In December 2016, 12 people died after a driver used a hijacked trick to drive into a Christmas market in Berlin.

There have been multiple attacks this year in London, where a man in a rented SUV plowed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four people before he ran onto the grounds of Parliament and stabbed an unarmed police officer to death in March.

Four other men drove onto the sidewalk of London Bridge, unleashing a rampage with knives that killed eight people in June. Another man also drove into pedestrians leaving a London mosque later in June. (AP)

Photo credits: Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images (2), Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images, Manu Fernandez/AP, Oriol Duran/AP (2), David Armengou/EPA/REX/Shutterstock, Pau Barrena/AFP/Getty Images, Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

See more photos from Barcelona and our other slideshows on Yahoo News.

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5

Abandoned Playboy House

These are the sinister photos of an abandoned swingers mansion, covered in broken glass and daubed in graffiti. The house, in Chattanooga, Tenn., was the former home of strip club owner Billy Hull, who was jailed for murder in the ’70s. In 1972, nearly 10,000 people visited the mansion, which was famous for the bunny-shaped pool that took up nearly half the house. (Caters)

Photography by Abandoned Southeast/Caters News

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5

How the world mocks Trump in performance art

Americans aren’t the only ones with strong feelings about President Trump. Protest art and other depictions have cropped up in countries like Indonesia, Serbia, France and Japan, mocking and belittling the U.S. leader.

These depictions range from Alec Baldwin’s impersonation of Trump on “Saturday Night Live” to portrayals of Trump as a human buttocks or even Adolf Hitler.

Click through to see how the celebrity president is represented both in the U.S. and abroad. (Colin Campbell/Yahoo News)

Photo credits: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images, Will Heath/NBC via AP, Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News, Michael Probst/AP, Joe Raedle/Getty Images

See more photos of Trump performance art and our other slideshows on Yahoo News.

5

Tears and tributes at Virginia memorial for Heather Heyer

Hundreds of purple-clad residents have packed a historic American theatre to remember the 32-year-old woman killed when a suspected white nationalist crashed his car into anti-racist demonstrators.

Heather Heyer, a paralegal whom colleagues said was dedicated to social justice, was killed in Charlottesville, Virginia, after clashes on Saturday between white nationalists attending a “Unite the Right” gathering and counter-protesters.

“We are absolutely in awe at this outpouring of affection,” Elwood Shrader, Heyer’s grandfather, told the service at the city’s 1930s era Paramount Theater, near where she died. “She wanted respect for everybody. In our family, all lives matter.”

In the crowd were Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, US Senator Tim Kane and Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer. Many of those attending wore purple, Heyer’s favourite colour, at the request of her family.

“I came here today and I was overwhelmed by the rainbow of colours in this room,” said Heyer’s father, Mark Heyer, his voice cracking with emotion. “That’s how Heather was … for that, I am truly proud of my daughter.”

Fallout from Heyer’s death and the street fights among protesters has become President Donald Trump’s biggest domestic challenge. Trump was assailed from across the political spectrum over his initial response blaming “many sides” for the violence.

On Monday, the Republican president bowed to political pressure and denounced neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan by name, but on Tuesday he again inflamed tensions by insisting counter-protesters were also to blame. In a tweet on Wednesday morning, in a first mention, Trump described Heyer as “beautiful and incredible … a truly special young woman. She will be long remembered by all!”

Residents of the usually quiet, liberal-leaning Virginia city were horrified by the weekend violence they said was brought by outsiders. Amid concerns trouble could erupt outside Wednesday’s memorial, a small group of anti-racist protesters wearing pink helmets and carrying baseball bats and purple shields stood quietly near the theatre. One of the group, who declined to be identified, said they brought weapons to defend themselves in case the white supremacists returned.

“The cops didn’t protect us on Saturday and we don’t trust them to do so today,” the group member said. Also outside the theatre, artist Sam Welty was chalking a large portrait of Heyer on a memorial wall where many tributes to the slain woman have been written. “The way she lost her life, doing what she did, really stood for Charlottesville. It makes me wish that I knew her,” said Welty, 42. (AP)

Photo credits: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images (2), Andrew Shurtleff/Getty Images, Evan Vucci/AP (2)

Read:  At service for Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer, a call for ‘righteous action’  »

See more photos from Heather Heyer memorial and our other slideshows on Yahoo News.

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