Barcelona terrorists had planned even larger attack using explosives

Jihadists who launched two terror attacks in Spain killing at least 14 people were planning even greater carnage involving explosives.

Five jihadists were gunned down in the beach resort of Cambrils, 100km south-west of Barcelona, in the early hours of Friday morning after they tried to drive an Audi into a crowd of people.

One woman who was critically injured in the attack later died in hospital.

That attack happened just hours after a white van ploughed into a crowd of pedestrians in the popular Las Ramblas tourist area in Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring dozens more.

On Friday afternoon, Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero said an explosion at a house in the town of Alcanar on Wednesday indicated the attacks were more “rudimentary” than planned.

Police fired 14 shots before gunning down the terrorist in Cambrils on Thursday night

MORE: Amateur shows moment police gunned down terrorist

“We are working on the hypothesis that these attacks were being prepared for a while around this private home in Alcanar,” he said.

“We think they were preparing at least one or more attacks in Barcelona.

“The explosion in Alcanar at least avoided some of the material they were counting on to carry out even bigger attacks than the ones that happened.

“Because of that the attack in Barcelona and the one in Cambrils were carried out in a bit more rudimentary way than the one they had initially planned.”

More than 20 canisters of propane and butane gas were discovered at the property.

Four of the five terrorists killed by police in the dramatic shootout have been identified. They were aged 21, 27, 28 and 34. Three were Moroccan and one was Spanish, and police said none of them were previously known to the security services for terror-related reasons.

Moussa Oubakir

Police have said the other man could have been the driver of the van, named by local media as Moussa Oukabir.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the carnage in Barcelona. Police are working on the assumption that a terror network of between 8-12 people are behind the attacks.

The victims

The first victim of the Barcelona attack has been named as Bruno Gulotta, a 35-year-old Italian who was on holiday in Barcelona with his partner and two children when he was crushed to death by the lorry.

Bruno Gulotta

According to la Repubblica newspaper, his wife, Martina, was walking behind Mr Gulotta carrying their seven-month-old baby when he was struck by the van, which reportedly killed him instantly.

Mrs Gulotta managed to escape to safety with their five-year-old son, Alessandro.

A seven-year-old British-born boy now living in Australia has also been reported missing by his family.

Julian Cadman, who was reportedly born in Kent before moving to Australia three years ago, became separated from his mother during the terror attack, according to his family.

His mother is in hospital in a serious but stable condition, according to Julian’s grandfather Tony, who posted on Facebook that Julian was missing.

UK authorities are “urgently looking into reports” he is a British dual-nationality, Prime Minister Theresa May said

Julian’s father Andrew Cadman spoke to his son just hours before the attack, and is now travelling to Spain to search for him.

A “small number” of Britons were injured in the terror attacks in Spain and additional staff have been sent to Barcelona to help, the Foreign Office said.

Jared Tucker

Heidi Nunes is searching for her husband Jared

The wife of 43-year-old Californian Jared Tucker, Heidi Nunes, is appealing for information about her husband after they got separated.

The couple were on holiday celebrating their first wedding anniversary.

Elke Vanbockrijck

Elke Vanbockrijck, 44, from Hungary was named as another victim. She is reported to have been on holiday with her two children and her husband.

Luca Russo

25-year-old Luca Russo, from Italy, died while on holiday in Spain with his fiancee.

Luca was an engineering graduate from Bassano Grappa.

MORE: Here are the victims of the Barcelona terror attacks

Show of solidarity

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (centre) leads a minute of silence at Placa de Catalunya REUTERS/Susana Vera

Hundreds of people marched through the heart of Barcelona in a defiant show of solidarity against the devastating attacks.

The city quickly attempted to return to normality on Friday morning, just hours after the twin terror attacks.

Crowds gathered for a minute’s silence in the Placa de Catalunya at noon (11am BST), before parading down Las Ramblas’ tree-lined walkways nearby.

Videos uploaded to social media showed the marchers bursting into spontaneous rounds of applause, chanting “No tenim por” (“I’m not afraid!”) as they made their way down the bustling tourist hotspot, packed with bars, restaurants and market stalls.

The terrorists

The man police sources say rented the van that was used in the attack

Four of the five men terrorists killed in Cambrils have been identified. They were aged 21, 27, 28 and 34. Three were Moroccan and one was Spanish, and police said none of them were previously known to the security services for terror-related reasons.

But Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero told reporters the fifth man had not yet been identified.

He also revealed that police had yet to identify the Barcelona driver and said: “It could be one of the people shot in Cambrils, but we don’t know yet.”

Police sources told Spanish media the man they are hunting for Moussa Oukabir. He is the younger brother of Driss Oukabir, who was arrested yesterday on suspicion of hiring the van used in the attack.

Police officers speak near an overturned car at the spot where terrorists were intercepted by police in Cambrils. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Terror in Barcelona tourist spot

Shortly after 5pm local time on Thursday a white Fiat van tore through Las Ramblas, a major tourist attraction packed with families and holidaymakers, in a horror described as “jihad terrorism” by the country’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

The van drove on to the pavement, swerving among pedestrians in a crowded area, and was “clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible”, senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero said.

Images and video posted on social media showed bodies strewn across the pavement. Some looked like children.

It is the deadliest attack on Spanish soil since more than 190 people died in the Madrid train bombs in 2004.

According to the Catalan regional government citizens of some 24 countries were among those killed and injured, with one Belgian national confirmed to have died.

Reports say that a Spanish passport of a man with a Moroccan name was found inside the van.

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Authorities have warned that the death-toll may rise, with 15 people receiving treatment for serious injuries.

Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack via their Amaq News Agency. Isis frequently declares involvement in incidents across the world so their claims should be treated with caution, though Catalan Police have confirmed the incident is a terror attack.

Spain has several hundred soldiers in Iraq providing training to local forces in the fight against Isis, but they are not involved in ground operations.

Spanish media have published a picture of a man police sources say rented the van. Authorities have named him as Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old born in Morocco who lives in Catalunya.

Security sources told El Pais that Oukabir had recently visited Morocco and arrived back in Barcelona earlier this week.

Police stop attack in Cambrils

At about 2am local time on Thursday morning, five terrorists wearing suicide belts, which later turned out to be fake, rammed civilians with a car in a Spanish seaside town before being shot dead by police.

Bystanders ran for their lives as a gunfire broke out close to the coastal town’s beachfront promenade.

Residents of the popular tourist spot were ordered to take cover indoors as bullets tore through the air and footage later showed several lifeless bodies on the ground.

In the wake of the carnage several controlled blasts were carried out in the area, with police later saying the attackers had been wearing explosive belts.

Officers investigate at the scene where police had killed five attackers in Cambrils, south of Barcelona. (Still image from Reuters video)

Mossos, Catalonia’s police force, said four of the attackers were shot dead at the scene and later confirmed a fifth had died of his injuries.

Of the six civilians caught up in the attack two were said to be in a serious condition.

What eyewitnesses said

Steve Garrett was in a market near Las Ramblas and sheltered in a bakery with several others after streams of people ran inside.

One member of the group who took refuge with him said she had heard gunshots after the incident.

Mr Garrett told the BBC: “A very large number of people ran into the market area in a big kind of way, lots of screaming, lots of shouting.

“The security guards immediately responded. We ran into the bakery with four or five other people and ran straight upstairs and hunkered down whilst an enormous wave of people went through the market.

“The lady that was with us said she heard some gunshots.”

Police and emergency services attend to injured persons at the scene REUTERS

Mr Garrett said a “second wave” of people then entered the market, followed by armed police.

“They seemed to be looking for someone. They were going very carefully, very cautiously, stall to stall.”

Eyewitness Ethan Spibey told Sky News: ‘It was real chaos, people started running, screaming. There was a loud bang.’

Another witness, Aamer Anwar, said: “All of a sudden, I just sort of heard a crashing noise and the whole street just started to run, screaming. I saw a woman right next to me screaming for her kids.

“Police were very, very quickly there, police officers with guns, batons, everywhere. Then the whole street started getting pushed back.”

A plain clothed police officer secures the area in Barcelona. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

Tom Gueller, who lives on a road adjoining the site of the attack, was forced to flee when the vehicle began hitting pedestrians.

He told the BBC: “I heard screams and a bit of a crash and then I just saw the crowd parting and this van going full pelt down the middle of the Ramblas. It wasn’t slowing down at all. It was just going straight through the middle of the crowds in the middle of the Ramblas.”

Trump sparks outrage

U.S. President Donald Trump said shortly after the attack: “The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help.”

He added: “Be tough & strong, we love you!”

However, President Trump then went on to peddle a debunked urban legend about a former Army general’s harsh counterterrorism tactics more than a century ago.

Less than an hour after initially condemning the attack, Trump encouraged his followers on Twitter to study up on U.S. Army Gen. John J. Pershing and what he did to Muslim terrorists when they were caught.

Trump was referencing the discredited story of how Pershing executed 49 Muslims with bullets that had been dipped in pig’s blood during the Philippine-American War of 1899-1902.

MORE: Trump reacts to Barcelona terror by touting (debunked) anti-Muslim war crime tale

Europe targeted again

Since July 2016 a number of vehicles have been driven into crowds in a series of attacks across Europe, killing well over 100 people in Nice, Berlin, London and Stockholm.

June 3 2017 – London

Eight people were killed when three men drove a van into pedestrians on London Bridge before launching knife attacks on people enjoying a night out in Borough Market. The terrorists were shot dead by police.

May 22 2017 – Manchester

Suicide bomber Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at Manchester Arena as fans were leaving an Ariana Grande concert, killing himself and 22 others.

April 7 2017 – Stockholm

A stolen truck was rammed into a crowd in the Swedish capital, killing four people and wounding 15 others. A 39-year-old Uzbek man confessed to the crime, his lawyer said. Police said Rakhmat Akilov was known to have been sympathetic to extremist organisations. Briton Chris Bevington, 41, who lived in Stockholm with his family and worked as a director with music streaming service Spotify, was among the victims.

March 22 2017 – London

Khalid Masood drove a hired car over Westminster Bridge, near the Houses of Parliament, mounted the pavement and hit pedestrians before crashing into railings outside the Palace of Westminster. He stabbed Pc Keith Palmer to death and also killed US tourist Kurt Cochran, Romanian tourist Andreea Cristea, 31, plus Britons Aysha Frade, 44, and 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes. Masood was shot dead by police.

March 18 2017 – Paris

A suspected Islamic extremist attacked a French soldier at Orly airport – shouting that he wanted to kill and die for Allah – and wrested away her assault rifle. Two colleagues on patrol at the airport shot and killed the man before he could fire the military-grade weapon in the busy terminal.

February 3 2017 – Paris

A machete-wielding man shouting “Allahu akbar” attacked French soldiers guarding the sprawling Louvre museum building. The suspect, who was shot four times, was later named by officials as Egyptian Abdullah Reda Refaie al-Hamahmy, 28.

December 19 2016 – Berlin

A truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring 56 others.

An injured person is carried in Barcelona, Spain, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists and injuring several people, police said. (AP Photo/Oriol Duran)
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