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Spanish law enforcement are conducting a manhunt for those responsible for a series of terror attacks which have killed at least 14 people and injured around 130 others.
Authorities are still searching for the driver of a van that plowed into pedestrians on Las Ramblas, a busy boulevard in Barcelona popular with tourists. The suspect was seen escaping on foot after the ramming, which happened around 5:30 p.m. local time.
Local law enforcement say that they believe that the van attack was one in a series of planned attacks. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack though the claim has not been verified.
Four men have been arrested so far, as country-wide anti-terror operations continue.
Early Friday, five other suspects were shot dead by police in the nearby town of Cambrils after carrying out a similar attack. The men were intercepted after driving a car into a crowd of bystanders, injuring seven people including one police officer. One of the victims died hours later in hospital.
Catalan officials confirmed that the attackers were wearing fake explosive belts.
On Wednesday night, a person was killed in an explosion that police believe to be connected to both vehicle attacks. That incident happened in a property in a separate town 100 miles southwest of Barcelona. Police sources say the residence was being used for preparing explosive devices.
Four men are currently in police custody following the attacks.
Police have named the first as Driss Oukabir, a 28-year-old Moroccan man who is thought to have hired the rental van used in the Barcelona attack. But police operating in Ripoll, the town where he was arrested Thursday, said that he was not the van driver.
The three other men, one from Spain's north African enclave of Melilla, have not yet been named. It is currently unknown whether any one them was the driver of the van.
It is still not clear how many people were involved in the various attacks, but authorities investigating both attacks believe it may have been a cell of eight people, according to Reuters reports.
A hired white Fiat van zigzagged along Barcelona's pedestrianized Las Ramblas boulevard at an estimated 50 miles per hour on Thursday, leaving at least 13 people dead and scores more injured.
The vehicle sped for at least 500 meters into crowds walking along the popular tree-lined strip, before crashing into a newspaper kiosk. The assailant was then seen fleeing the scene on foot.
Police quickly confirmed the incident as a terror attack. By midday Friday, Spanish emergency services placed the injury toll at 130, according to Reuters reports.
Separately, in the early hours of Friday morning, an Audi A3 drove into a crowd of bystanders in Cambrils, a coastal town around 120 km from Barcelona.
Six people and one police officer were injured in the attack which led to a police shootout. The five assailants were killed on the scene. One of the victims was later succumbed to her injuries in a hospital by midday Friday.
Thursday's attacks mark the latest in a series using vehicles to bring carnage to the streets of Europe. Over the past 13 months, more than 100 people have been killed in similar terror attacks in Nice, Berlin, London, and Stockholm.
It is the first time this modus operandi has been used in Spain, however, and the first time the country has been targeted by extremist terror attacks in 13 years. In 2004, Madrid fell victim to a series of al-Qaeda-inspired train bombings, which killed 192 people and injured 2,000.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy condemned the attack, saying the city had been hit by "jihad terrorism," but insisted the country remains defiant to acts of extremism.
"Terrorists will never defeat a united people that loves freedom over barbarism," he said in Barcelona.
Rajoy declared three days of national mourning. A minute's silence was held at 12 p.m. local time Friday.
Citizens from 34 countries are said to be among the victims of the two attacks which have so far claimed 14 lives.
Of the injured, 17 are currently in a critical condition and a further 30 are in a serious condition, according to Reuters.
Besides locals, people from France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, America and Hong Kong are said to have been hurt.
The youngest among the dead is believed to be a three-year-old girl, who died shortly after being taken into hospital.
Italy said two of its nationals were killed, while German television channel ZDF reported three Germans among the dead. Belgium's deputy prime minister and foreign affairs minister Didier Reynders confirmed the death of one Belgian citizen via twitter.
The U.S. State Department has confirmed that one American citizen was killed. The agency added that Spanish authorities have not yet identified all the casualties.
A six-year-old girl of unknown nationality is among the scores injured. She is currently being treated for a cerebral hemorrhage, a official at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital in Barcelona told the New York Times. A seven-year-old Australian boy is also currently missing.
So far, France has confirmed 26 injured victims, German 13, Australia four, and the Netherlands and Greece three. A Hong Kong citizen suffered minor injuries, as did one American.
Authorities continue to search for the assailants behind the attack, while world leaders offered their condolences to a country in mourning.
President Donald Trump condemned the attack in a tweet Thursday and said the U.S. would do "whatever is necessary" to support Spain.
European leaders, many of whose countries have been targeted by similar attacks, also struck a tone of unity.
French President Emmanuel Macron said "we remain united and determined" while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Islamist terrorism "can never defeat us." She vowed to continue with campaigning for a general election in Germany in September.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was "sickened by the senseless loss of life" and offered support to Spanish authorities.
This story is developing. Please check back for further updates.
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