Large gas containers which had been filled with deadly butane have been recovered from the rubble of a home which exploded ahead of the Barcelona massacre.
Investigators believe a 12-strong terror cell planned to detonate the highly-explosive gas, using plastic explosive TATP – which was also found at the site – in its attack on the Catalan city’s tourist district.
But less than 24 hours before the atrocity, one member was killed in an accidental blast. Police have said there may still be another body buried in the rubble of the house in Alcanar, which is more than 120 miles south of Barcelona.
More than 20 butane gas canisters were found intact in the wreckage, as well as Acetone peroxide (TATP) – nicknamed ‘Mother of Satan’ because of the high number of accidental explosions it causes.
Gas canisters which contained deadly butane gas were recovered from a home in Alcanar, 60 miles south of Barcelona, and were seen outside the address today
Police revealed on Thursday night that the explosion less than 24 hours earlier was linked to the plot, and documents found at the scene contains details of the attack
Had the explosion not happened, a police chief said, Thursday’s attack would have had ‘bigger scope’.
On Friday night Catalonia’s police force tweeted: ‘We are working to determine if remains at Alcanar are a second corpse/We are working to determine if biological traces from Alcanar are human.’
Security experts believe the gang wanted to hire a large truck like the one used to devastating effect in the Nice atrocity two years ago, but they were unable to get permits so had to settle with smaller vans.
One person linked to the atrocity has been arrested at the scene of the explosion, authorities confirmed on Thursday night.
Police confirmed on Friday afternoon that the suspects had been planning to use explosives in the mass killing.
Josep Lluis Trapero of Catalonia’s police said: ‘They were preparing one or several attacks in Barcelona, and an explosion in Alcanar stopped this as they no longer had the material they needed to commit attacks of an even bigger scope.’
Initially treated as a random gas blast, police later linked the explosion to the Barcelona assault, believing occupants of the house were preparing an explosive device inside and slipped up.
Trapero said that after this, the suspects allegedly quickly went on to commit ‘more rudimentary’ attacks. These involved the vehicles plowing into pedestrians in Barcelona and Cambrils.
The Cambrils suspects had an axe and knives in the car as well as fake explosive belts stuck to their bodies, said police.
Thirteen people were killed and more than 100 wounded when a van was driven into walkers on the busy Las Ramblas street in Barcelona.
It has also been claimed that a cell of 12 people may have been involved in the attacks on Barcelona and Cambrils – and that they were planning to use gas canisters to kill victims.
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