Police Say Spain Attacks Could Have Been Bigger and More Devastating After 14 Die in Barcelona

The debris of a house in the village of Alcanar, Catalonia, is seen Thursday after it collapsed due to an explosion.

The perpetrators of the terror attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils originally planned to use explosive devices to wreak greater devastation but were apparently thwarted because their materials detonated prematurely, police said Friday.

A house in Alcanar, south of Barcelona, was destroyed in a blast Wednesday night — hours before one attacker mowed down dozens of people in the heart of Barcelona, killing 13. A group of five attackers then drove into pedestrians in the town of Cambrils, killing one, in the early hours of Friday.

Catalan police chief Jose Lluis Trapero told reporters that explosives were found in the Alcanar property and that police “are working on the hypothesis that these attacks were being prepared in that house.”

The explosion meant the attackers were unable to use material they were planning to deploy in attacks in Barcelona, Cambrils and perhaps elsewhere, he said. The attack in Barcelona, capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia, was therefore “more rudimentary than they originally planned,” Trapero said.

The revelations pointed to an alarming conclusion: that authorities knew nothing of an advanced plot to mount a spectacular terror attack until an accidental explosion at the perpetrators’ base — and despite the eyecatching setback the terror cell still managed to carry out two further improvised attacks without impediment.

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SOURCE: CNN, Laura Smith-Spark, Eliza Mackintosh and Ben Westcott

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