Vastavam web: Suspects in Spain’s twin terror attacks had been planning an even bigger assault than the deadly car rampages they carried out, police said, as distressing details emerged of families torn apart in the horror.A 35-year-old Italian was among 14 killed, mowed down in front of his wife and young children in Barcelona when a driver rammed his van through crowds on the busy Las Ramblas boulevard on Thursday, before fleeing on foot.Police said they shot dead five “suspected terrorists” who had knocked pedestrians down in the Catalan seaside resort of Cambrils in a second attack in the early hours of Friday, and arrested four others as Spain reeled from the deadly violence.
Police said yesterday they suspect 12 people of involvement in the attacks: the five who were killed, four who were arrested and three who have been identified but who remain at large.Officials suspect that two of these three may have died in a blast at a house in the town of Alcanar, about 200 kilometres (140 miles) south of Barcelona on Wednesday evening.Initially treated as a random gas blast, police later linked the explosion to the Barcelona assault, believing occupants of the house were preparing a larger attack, possibly a vehicle bomb, with the use of gas canisters and slipped up.
After the explosion the suspects quickly went on to commit “more rudimentary” attacks. These involved the vehicles ploughing into pedestrians in Barcelona and Cambrils, he added.The Cambrils suspects had an axe and knives in the car as well as fake explosive belts stuck to their bodies, said police.Both Spanish attacks followed the same modus operandi.Drivers deliberately targeted pedestrians with their vehicles, the latest in a series of such assaults in Europe.In a poignant moment Friday, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, King Felipe VI and the president of Catalonia — where both attacks took place held a minute of silence in Barcelona. It was followed by the crowd applauding and shouting “not afraid”.
But in a sign of the tensions sparked by the attacks, about 20 far-right militants tried to protest at the march.Some held up signs reading “No More Mosques” or “Refugees not welcome anymore”.