The terrorists behind the Barcelona attacks planned an even bigger assault, police said as they continued a widespread manhunt to find the rampaging van driver who plowed into a crowd of people.
The suspected jihadists had attempted to rent an even larger truck but did not have the right permits to do so.
Investigators also believe a group of 12 people were involved in the terrorist attack and that they planned to detonate highly-explosive gas in their attack.
A group of large gas canisters filled with butane were found on Friday outside a home after an explosion a day before the Barcelona assault, the Daily Mail reported.
An expert on counter-terrorism told New York Times on the evening of the Thursday attack that police believed the initial plot was much larger.
“Part of the plan was they tried to rent a larger truck, but they didn’t have the right permit and so they ended up getting” smaller vans, said the expert who requested anonymity since the information was disclosed to him in private.
Because of this limitation, the terrorist was forced to rent the much smaller white Fiat van.
At least 13 people died and over 80 were injured when the terrorists drove the van down one of Barcelona’s most popular streets. The driver is still on the loose after escaping on foot.
Police are still hunting the driver, Moussa Oukabir, an 18-year-old Moroccan-born teenager suspected to have been the van driver during the attack.
The ISIS terrorist group claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack, which is the worst terrorist attack to hit Spain in more than 10 years, according to the New York Times.
President Donald Trump took to twitter to express his support for the citizens of Spain.
“The United States condemns the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, and will do whatever is necessary to help. Be tough & strong, we love you!” he tweeted.
Just eight hours after the Barcelona attack, a second attack took place at the lesser known resort town of Cambrils, around 68 miles to the south-west.
The attackers, driving an Audi A3, plowed into pedestrians in the town in a linked attack. Six civilians were injured, one critically, and a police officer was injured, the Telegraph reported.
Police shot to death four terrorists involved in the incident. A fifth terrorist died later from his injuries.