Last week’s terrorist attacks in Spain could have been much worse, according to new reports.
NY Magazine reports that authorities believe the terror cell responsible for the attacks was planning a much larger and deadlier event. Authorities came to this conclusion after discovering a bomb factory operated by the group that included more than 120 gas canisters and other bomb-making materials. That cache exploded prematurely on Wednesday, destroying a house in the beach town of Alcanar.
Last week saw two terrorist attacks in Spain, one in Barcelona’s Las Ramblas and one in Cambrils. 13 were killed and dozens more injured in the Las Ramblas attack, while the Cambrils attack killed another pedestrian and resulted in the deaths of five terrorists, who were shot by police. In both attacks, instead of using bombs, vehicles rammed into a crowd of pedestrians. ISIS has claimed responsibility for both incidents, although this has not yet been confirmed.
The incidents prompted the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) to reach out to its 24 member companies in Spain to offer assistance.
“ASTA is sickened by yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Barcelona,” ASTA President and CEO Zane Kerby said in a written release. “Our hearts go out to those who lost loved ones in the attacks and the people of Spain as a whole.”
The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) also issued a statement condemning the attacks.
“I am extremely saddened to hear about these callous attacks in Spain,” said WTTC President and CEO Gloria Guevara. “My heart goes out to the victims, their friends and families. Barcelona and Cambrils are two beautiful and strong tourist spots. The Travel & Tourism sector offers its full support to all those impacted – both destinations, Spain, and its people – as it is going through these difficult times.”
NBC News reports that police are still searching for the driver of the van in the Barcelona attack after he eluded capture in the city’s university neighborhood, killing a man and stealing his vehicle to escape. Four more suspects were arrested Sunday.
According to The Guardian, the hunt for the suspect has been extended across Europe. Police have set up 800 vehicle checkpoints and tripled the number of anti-terrorism officers.