Thirteen people were killed and scores injured in central Barcelona late Thursday afternoon when a rented truck plowed through a pedestrian shopping street packed with tourists and residents in what Spanish police quickly called a terrorist attack.
The incident began on a corner of La Ramblas, a tree-lined pedestrian mall popular with tourists, and continued until the middle of the block, where the Maccabi Kosher Restaurant is located. It does not appear that the attack was directed at the restaurant.
“It’s a terrible situation,” said Rabbi Dovid Libersohn, director of Chabad Lubavitch de Barcelona, which provides kosher certification to Maccabi.
“We pray for the injured and for the families of those who were killed, and we are grateful, thank G‑d, that nobody at the restaurant was harmed. As far as we know right now, members of the Jewish community are safe. We hope this will be the news going forward.”
According to initial reports, two attackers took hostages in a local bar—unconnected to the kosher restaurant—after fleeing the scene in the popular neighborhood.
Local Jewish and other institutions were closed on the instructions of police. Some 80 patrons are still confined inside the kosher restaurant, according to Libersohn.
“I’m in contact with the people at the restaurant,” he said. “The police are not letting anyone out.”
Maccabi is the only kosher restaurant in Barcelona and one of several purveyors of kosher food.