“Terrible what happened:” 2 from Green Bay were just blocks away from scene of attack in Barcelona

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BARCELONA -- A Wisconsin woman says she was just blocks away from the scene of an attack in Barcelona, Spain Thursday, August 17th.

A senior police official in Spain's Catalonia region said the van attack that killed 13 people in Barcelona is "connected" to an explosion the night before in a town south of the city in which one person died and injured several more.

Police Major Josep Lluis Trapero also gave the nationalities of the two suspects detained Thursday. He said during a news conference that one is Moroccan and the other is a Spanish national from Melilla, a Spanish city on Africa's north coast that neighbors Morocco.

Trapero says the arrests were made in the northern Catalan town of Ripoll and in Alcanar, the site of the Wednesday night explosion. He says neither detained suspect was the driver of the van used in the fatal attack in Barcelona's Las Ramblas district.

He says the man drove the attack van down the pedestrian walkway from the top of Las Ramblas to near the city's opera house and then set out on foot. Trepero says it doesn't appear the driver was armed.

Jemma Lund

Jemma Lund and Andre Johnson, both from Green Bay, are on vacation in Spain.

Lund said she was in a hostel at the time -- not far from the popular shopping area where the attack happened.

Johnson was in a clothing store.

They said at first, they thought the commotion was a possible shoplifting. Later, they learned it was a terror attack.

Andre Johnson

Both are safe, and remained in communication with each other through text messages.

"It's definitely terrible what happened, but it's not a city that is fearful, I guess, from my observation. People are kind of going about their business," Lund said.

Lund and Johnson said they're happy to be safe, and said they'll continue to be aware of their surroundings during future travel.

Medical staff members and 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. Police in Barcelona said they were dealing with a 'terrorist attack' after a vehicle ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians on the city's famous Las Ramblas boulevard on August 17, 2017. Police were clearing the area after the incident, which has left a number of people injured. / AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO

FOX6 News reached out to universities in the Milwaukee area, to check whether there are students in Barcelona:

Marquette University: No students, faculty or staff in Barcelona.

UW-Milwaukee: No students in Spain.

UW in Madison: One student was in Barcelona. That student's study abroad program has ended. Another will be studying abroad beginning August 31st.

Mount Mary University: No students in Spain.

Carthage College: No students in Spain.

Alverno College: No students in Spain.

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