Spain mounted a sweeping anti-terrorism operation on Friday after a suspected militant drove a van into crowds in Barcelona, killing 13 people, in what police suspect was one of a planned wave of attacks.
IS claimed responsibility for the deadly rampage along the city’s most famous avenue on Thursday, which was packed with tourists taking an afternoon stroll. The death toll could rise, with more than 100 injured, authorities said.
As security forces hunted for the van’s driver, who was seen escaping on foot, police said they had killed five attackers on Thursday night in Cambrils, a town south of Barcelona, to thwart a separate attack using explosive belts.
Six civilians and a police officer were injured in Cambrils when the attackers ran them over in a car, before police shot them dead and carried out controlled explosions. Police said the Cambrils incident was linked to the van attack in Barcelona.
Before the van plowed into the tree-lined walkway of Las Ramblas, one person was killed in an explosion in a house in a separate town southwest of Barcelona, police said. Residents there were preparing explosives, a police source added.
Police said they had arrested a Moroccan and a man from Spain’s north African enclave of Melilla, though neither was the van driver. A third man was arrested in the town of Ripoll on Friday in connection with the attack.