Update: Regional police in Spain have confirmed that the fugitive Barcelona suspect believed to have driven the van that plowed into a crowd last week was shot dead in a small town outside the city.
This article was originally published on August 17, 2017. It has since been updated.
Spanish police intensified a manhunt Friday for suspects behind two deadly vehicle attacks on civilians, shooting and killing five people wearing fake bomb belts who attacked a seaside resort and arresting four others believed linked to the carnage wrought on a Barcelona promenade.
Spanish authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks Thursday afternoon and early Friday morning — as well as a deadly explosion earlier this week in a house elsewhere in Catalonia — were related and the work of a large terrorist group.
ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for Europe's latest bout of extremist violence, which left 13 dead and 100 wounded after a van roared down Barcelona's historic Las Ramblas promenade on Thursday. Hours later, a blue Audi plowed into people in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, killing one person and injuring five others.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy declared Friday that the fight against terrorism was a global battle and Europe's main problem.
Amid heavy security, Barcelona tried to move forward Friday, with its iconic Las Ramblas promenade quietly reopening to the public and King Felipe VI and Rajoy joining thousands of residents and visitors in observing a minute of silence in the city's main square.
"I am not afraid! I am not afraid!" the crowd chanted in Catalan.
But the dual attacks unnerved a country that hasn't seen an Islamic extremist attack since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated assaults on Madrid's commuter trains. Unlike France, Britain, Sweden, and Germany, Spain has largely been spared, thanks in part to a crackdown that has netted some 200 suspected jihadis in recent years.
Authorities were still reeling from the Barcelona van attack when police in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the south, fatally shot five people near the town's boardwalk who had plowed into tourists and locals with their car. Forn said the five were wearing fake bomb belts.
One woman died Friday from her injuries, Catalan police said. Five others were injured.
Cambrils Mayor Cami Mendoza said the town had taken precautions after the Barcelona attack, but that the suspects had focused their attack on the narrow path to the boardwalk, which is usually packed late into the evening.
"We were on a terrace, like many others," said bystander Jose Antonio Saez. "We heard the crash and intense gun shots, then the dead bodies on the floor, shot by the police. They had what looked like explosive belts on."
The Cambrils attack came hours after a white van veered onto a Las Ramblas sidewalk and mowed down pedestrians. That attack at the peak of Spain's tourist season left victims sprawled across the street, spattered with blood and writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with their guns drawn or fled in panic, screaming and carrying young children in their arms.
"It was clearly a terror attack, intended to kill as many people as possible," said Josep Lluis Trapero, a senior police official for Spain's Catalonia region.
ISIS said on its Aamaq news agency that the Barcelona attack was carried out by "soldiers of the Islamic State" in response to the extremist group's calls for followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive it from Syria and Iraq.
The dead and wounded hailed from 34 countries, and previous attacks — in Nice, Paris, Berlin and London — have had similarly international victims.
At noon Friday, local time, a minute of silence honoring the victims was observed at the Placa Catalunya, near the top of the Las Ramblas where the van attack started. The presence of Spain's king and prime minister alongside Catalonia's regional authorities marked a rare moment when the question of Catalonian independence — the subject of a proposed Oct. 1 referendum — didn't divide its people.
Rajoy declared three days of national mourning.