BARCELONA, Spain: Police on Friday shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a car attack in a seaside resort in Spain’s Catalonia region hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade, killing at least 13 people and injuring over 100 others.
Authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks — as well as an explosion earlier this week elsewhere in Catalonia— were connected and the work of a large terrorist group.
Three people were arrested, but the driver of the van used in the Barcelona attack remained at large and the manhunt intensified for the perpetrators of the latest European rampage claimed by the Islamic State group.
Police Friday said the suspects were killed in the town south of Barcelona during the police response to a terrorist attack in which five civilians and one police officer were wounded.
They said two of the wounded are in serious condition.
The force previously said it was working on the theory that the Cambrils suspects were linked to an attack late Thursday afternoon on a popular Barcelona promenade that killed 13 people and an earlier explosion in the town of Alcanar in which one person was killed.
Local media have reported a vehicle crashed into a police car and nearby civilians and that police shot the attackers, included one brandishing a knife.
The confrontation between the police and the suspect came about eight hours after a van swerved through a pedestrian walkway in a popular destination in downtown Barcelona, killing 13 people and injured an estimated 100 more.
Police earlier tweeted that they are investigating whether the Cambrils suspects were wearing explosive vests.
Its officers planned to carry out several controlled explosions.
The regional police for the Catalonia region said on Twitter early Friday that officers are in Cambrils and called on people in the town not to go out on the streets.
Police suspected they were planning an attack in Cambrils just hours after the Barcelona van terror attacks.
3 days of mourning
Earlier, the interior chief for Spain’s Catalonia region says three days of mourning have been declared to honour the victims of the van attack that killed 13 people in Barcelona.
Interior Department chief Joaquim Forn said the death toll could increase since at least 15 of the 100 people thought to have been injured in the attack were hurt badly.
Senior police official Josep Lluis Trapero says the van driving up onto a sidewalk and swerving among pedestrians in a crowded area was “clearly a terror attack intended to kill as many people as possible.”