Five terrorists wearing fake suicide belts have been shot dead by police after ramming civilians with a car in a Spanish seaside town in a second vehicle attack, as officials revealed they believe a gas canister atrocity was being planned.
Seven people, including a police officer, were injured in Cambrils – hours after a rampaging van driver left 13 people dead and more than 100 wounded around 70 miles away in Barcelona.
Holidaymakers ran for their lives as gunfire broke out close to the coastal town’s beachfront promenade early on Friday. A British tourist told how families and residents were ordered to take cover as bullets tore through the air.
Investigators revealed that the eight-strong terror cell believed to have been behind the two Spanish attacks is believed to have been planning an assault with gas canisters.
In the wake of the carnage in Cambrils, several controlled blasts were carried out. Police said the attackers had been wearing explosive belts, which experts later concluded were fake.
Investigators are working on the theory that the attacks in Cambrils and Barcelona are linked to a gas explosion at a house in the town of Alcanar on Wednesday that killed one person.
A major manhunt for the driver of the van that mowed down holidaymakers and locals on Las Ramblas – a popular tourist road in Barcelona – is continuing.
Three people have so far been arrested over the attack, including Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old Moroccan who is believed to have rented the van used in Barcelona.
The second arrested man, a Spanish national from Melilla, has not been named. The third person, who was arrested in the Spanish city of Ripoll on Friday morning, is believed to be an associate of Oukabir and not the van driver, who fled unarmed and remains on the run.
The third arrested man could have been the driver of a car that drove into a police checkpoint on Thursday night, investigators believe.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has claimed responsibility for the attack, the deadliest on Spanish soil since more than 190 people died in the Madrid train bombs in 2004.
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