Saturday 17 March 2018

Barcelona and Cambrils: Manhunt for four terror suspects amid fears rented car crossed into France

  • Reuters report driver among those dead
  • Two Italians and one American among victims
  • Police reveal terrorists planned 'bigger' attacks
  • Family of four from the Philippines with Irish citizenship 'injured'
  • Police arrest fourth person in relation to attacks on Friday afternoon
An armed police officer stands on a street in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
An armed police officer stands on a street in Las Ramblas, Barcelona, Spain, Friday (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
People flee from the scene after a white van jumped the sidewalk in the historic Las Ramblas district of Barcelona, Spain, crashing into a summer crowd of residents and tourists Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017. According to witnesses the white van swerved from side to side as it plowed into tourists and residents. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)
Moussa Oukabir is believed to be the younger brother of Driss Oukabir, who was arrested in Ripoll, north of Barcelona. Newsdesk Newsdesk

Spanish police are looking for four suspects believed to be in France that are linked to the deadly terror attacks in Barcelona and the seaside resort of Cambrils, according to several reports.

A French security official says Spanish police are looking for a Kangoo utility vehicle rented by suspects that may have crossed into France, AP reports.

The official said Spanish police alerted French authorities to the vehicle, rented on Thursday in Spain. The official said French police nationwide are on the lookout for the car, and were given information from Spain about four more suspects believed to be on the run.

The driver of the van which killed 13 people in Barcelona was one of the 5 terrorists shot dead by police earlier.

Four of the dead men were identified earlier. 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.

According to Reuters, the driver of the van was one of five men shot by police in the Catalan seaside resort of Cambrils hours later, Spain's El Pais and El Periodico newspapers reported.

A senior Catalan police official says one police officer killed 4 of the suspects in the Cambrils attack.

Meanwhile, police have revealed that the suspects had been preparing even bigger attacks in Barcelona "for some time".  Local media reports the suspects were intending to put the gas canisters in a car for the attack.

Dramatic video footage has emerged of one of the Cambrils terrorists, who taunted and smiled at police, being repeatedly shot in a scene described by witnesses as being like "watching a horror film".

Police chief Josep Lluis Trapero said an explosion at a house in the town of Alcanar on Wednesday had meant the attacks were more "rudimentary" than planned.

"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."

A woman injured in Friday's attack in the Catalan coastal town later died, bringing the body count from the twin attacks to 14, plus 130 injured.

Prime Minister Theresa May said a child with dual British nationality was believed to be among those unaccounted for.

The grandfather of Julian Alessandro Cadman made a plea for information about the boy, who became separated from his mother during the attack in Barcelona.

Tony Cadman, whose Facebook profile says he lives in Sydney and is from Gillingham, Dorset, posted a photograph of Julian, writing: "My grandson, Julian Alessandro Cadman is missing. Please like and share."

Speaking later from Chequers, Mrs May said: "The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Spain in confronting and dealing with the evil of terrorism, and I have offered any assistance we can provide.

"Sadly I must tell you that we do believe that a number of British nationals were caught up in the attack and we are urgently looking into reports of a child believed missing, who is a British dual national."

The attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, some 70 miles south west from the city on the Mediterranean coast, took place around eight hours apart on Thursday afternoon and in the early hours of Friday.

In a chilling echo of the London Bridge attack in June, Catalonia president Carles Puigdemont said the five terrorists in the Cambrils car were wearing fake suicide belts when they were stopped.

Police revealed that an axe and knives were also found in the vehicle, with one of the latter used to wound one person in the face before the terrorists were gunned down.

Barcelona, a hugely popular tourist destination, came to a halt at noon on Friday as a minute's silence was observed in the Placa Catalunya, close to the scene of the attack.

Led by King Felipe and PM Mariano Rajoy, the silence was followed by applause for the victims.

Three days of mourning have been declared by the government of Catalonia.

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