(Vatican Radio) Spanish police say they have killed five people in the town of Cambrils to stop a second attempted van attack after an earlier one in Barcelona killed thirteen people and injured dozens. Both attacks appear to have been organized by the same group, authorities said, and the Spanish prime minister declared a period of mourning.
Listen to Stefan Bos' report:
People panicked as the resort town of Cambrils turned briefly into a war zone. Spanish police shot and killed five suspects who are apparently carrying bomb belts.
Security forces rushed to the scene after at least seven people including a police officer were wounded when a car was driven into a group early on Friday. One was in critical condition.
Spanish media reported that the attackers' vehicle overturned and when the men got out they were quickly fired upon by police. A series of controlled explosions were then carried out in this town, some 120 kilometers, or 102 miles, south of Barcelona where more than a dozen people died in a separate attack.
In Barcelona, ambulances and other emergency service vehicles were seen speeding through Barcelona streets after a van drove into crowds of pedestrians at Las Ramblas, in the city center.
The Islamic State group was quick to claimed responsibility for the attack in Barcelona. It said its soldiers carried out the operation in response to calls for targeting coalition states," referring to a United States-led coalition against the Sunni militant group.
Witness Francisco Centeno described what happened. "There was crying. Cops were bringing people out. We were caught up in a group of people who were screaming and crying," he recalled.
The authorities are now linking the attacks in Barcelona and the later one Cambrils with an explosion at a house on Wednesday evening in the town of Alcanar that left one person dead.
Police were continuing to search for the driver of the van used in the Barcelona attack, who fled on foot. They also released a photo of a man named as Driss Oubakir, whose documents were used to rent the van involved in the attack.
However, latest reports say the Morocco-born man, who is in his 20s, told police he did not participate in the violence, and that his documents were stolen. Spain's Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has called it a "jihadist attack" and declared three days of mourning across Spain.