Aamer Anwar heard mother screaming for children in Barcelona attack

Media caption,
Eyewitness tells the BBC: "Families were screaming for their kids"

Scottish lawyer Aamer Anwar has described hearing a mother scream for her children in the aftermath of the terrorist attack in Barcelona.

Thirteen people died and dozens were hurt when a van hit crowds in the Las Ramblas area.

Mr Anwar told the BBC he was looking for a football kit for his son on Las Ramblas and heard a "crashing noise".

Speaking on BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, the Glasgow University rector said: "I was on the Ramblas, it was a beautiful summer day, the place was packed with thousands of tourists.

"I was about to stop and get something to eat but it was too packed and my son, who is nine, fortunately wasn't with me - he is back in Glasgow, but he'd asked me to get him a Barcelona kit so I thought I'll walk on.

Image caption,
Mr Anwar praised the response of the emergency services

"I had only walked 10 seconds ahead and next thing I heard a crash. I heard screams and I turned round and looked and people were running in their hundreds."

The human rights lawyer said a woman next to him was screaming because she couldn't see her children.

"She was screaming hysterically. A policeman put his arm around her and took her away."

Mr Anwar praised the response of the emergency services.

He said: "The police officers were there very quickly. The emergency services' response was tremendous. They were running in the direction of danger."

Speaking on Friday morning, Mr Anwar said the city was in lockdown in the aftermath of the attack.

He added: "My hotel is only five minutes from Las Ramblas but it took five hours last night to get back to the hotel."

Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said it was a "jihadist attack" and so-called Islamic State have claimed responsibility.

Mr Rajoy announced three days of national mourning and a minute's silence was held at noon (10:00 GMT) on Friday.

The authorities are now also linking the attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils with an explosion at a house on Wednesday evening in the town of Alcanar that left one person dead.

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described events in Spain as "horrific".

She tweeted on Thursday evening: "My thoughts are with everyone affected by the horrific and mindless attack in Barcelona."

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