Armed police officers stand guard at the entrance to Atocha railway station in Madrid (Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg)

Barcelona Terrorists Planned Bigger Attack With Explosives

(Bloomberg) -- Terrorists behind the Barcelona attack had planned a devastating assault with explosives and may have rammed pedestrians with vehicles after their initial plan failed, the police chief heading the investigation said on Friday.

A large explosion in the early hours of Thursday brought down a building in Alcanar, where police think a group of terrorists had been plotting an attack for some time, Catalan police chief Josep Lluis Trapero told reporters. Deprived of bomb-making material, they then carried out the twin strikes on Barcelona and Cambrils “in a more rudimentary way.”

“The explosion in Alcanar stopped larger attacks from happening because they no longer had some of the material they needed,” Trapero said.

Barcelona Terrorists Planned Bigger Attack With Explosives

The two attacks with vehicles, one in the iconic avenue of Las Ramblas in Barcelona, killed 14 people. Police are still looking for the driver of the van that rammed pedestrians in Barcelona, although they think he could have been one of five assailants killed by police after the second assault in Cambrils.

Four people have been arrested.