Barcelona van attacker among five killed by police

Barcelona van attacker among five killed by police
# 18 August 2017 23:23 (UTC +04:00)

The driver of the van that plowed into crowds in Barcelona, killing 13 people, was one of five men shot dead by police in a Catalan seaside resort hours later, Spanish newspapers reported on Friday, APA reports quoting Reuters.

Josep Lluis Trapero, police chief in Spain's northeastern region of Catalonia, had said earlier that it was possible, but not confirmed, that the driver was among those killed.

The driver abandoned the van and fled on Thursday after speeding along a pedestrianized section of Las Ramblas, the most famous boulevard in Barcelona, leaving a trail of dead and injured among the crowds of tourists and local residents thronging the street.

(For a graphic on Barcelona crash, click tmsnrt.rs/2fOJ9Sm)

It was the latest of a string of attacks across Europe in the past 13 months in which militants have used vehicles as weapons - a crude but deadly tactic that is near-impossible to prevent and has now killed nearly 130 people in France, Germany, Britain, Sweden and Spain.

Suspected jihadists have been behind the previous attacks. Islamic State said the perpetrators of the latest one had been responding to its call to target countries involved in a U.S.-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.

Hours after the van rampage, police shot dead five people in the Catalan resort of Cambrils, 120 km (75 miles) down the coast from Barcelona, after they drove their car at pedestrians and police officers.

The five assailants had an ax and knives in their car and wore fake explosive belts, police said. A single police officer shot four of the men, Trapero said.

A Spanish woman was killed in the Cambrils incident, while several other civilians and a police officer were injured.

Trapero said the investigation was focusing on a house in Alcanar, southwest of Barcelona, which was razed by an explosion shortly before midnight on Wednesday.

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