The Central Intelligence Agency warned Spanish police that the famous Las Ramblas strip in Barcelona was a likely terror attack target two months ago.
Officers in the Spanish city were reportedly warned about a potentially fatal incident following a spate of lorry-style attacks in Europe.
Today, just weeks after the warning, at least 13 people were killed and 32 injured when a van ploughed into pedestrians on the iconic tourist spot.
And Spanish newspaper El Peridoico reported the US spy agency specifically discussed Las Ramblas with the local police force, the Mossos d’Esquadra.
The hired van (pictured), registered to rental company Telefurgo, rammed into scores of holidaymakers and their children in the centre of Barcelona
Terrified tourists and locals desperately tried to flee the scene after a van rammed into people at the famous tourist spot
Shocking video footage and photographs from the scene showed armed police and paramedics rushing to the promenade.
Dozens of bodies could be seen laying on the ground as panicked tourists and locals tried to help.
El Periodico said: ‘The CIA had already warned the Mossos d’Esquadra that Barcelona might be a terrorist target.
‘The central intelligence agency moved its notice to the Catalan autonomous police two months ago. He even put the focus on the Ramblas.’
Earlier in May, the US issued a new terror alert for Europe after attacks in London, Stockholm, Berlin and Nice.
Meanwhile, Catalonia’s interior minister Joaquim Forn today said it is ‘very possible’ the number of dead will rise because of the ‘very serious’ injuries to some of the victims.
Reports suggested the two alleged attackers had taken hostages in a nearby Turkish restaurant and were negotiating with officers.
The Central Intelligence Agency warned Spanish police that the famous Las Ramblas strip (pictured) in Barcelona was a likely terror attack target
The van crashed into people on the famous promenade, before the alleged attacker ran on foot
Officers were also searching for a second van the attackers may have hired as a getaway vehicle.
Eyewitnesses reported seeing people running away and screaming after the terror attack happened.
A witness called Angel said he had seen the attacker close up and described him as ‘a young man, maximum 25 years old, chestnut brown hair and skinny.’
Others described him as about 5ft 6in tall and wearing a blue and white striped top.
Another witness, Isaac, said: ‘The person was accelerating. He mounted the pavement to run people over. We saw the van passing by running people over at 50 miles an hour. It was as if it was driving through a field of corn.’
A taxi driver told Catalan TV station TV3: ‘The van was doing zigzags knocking over everyone he could. It was shocking.’
Police were reported to have found a Spanish passport inside the van.