MADRID, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona's Camp Nou Stadium could have been the intended target for the jihadist terrorist cell who claimed 16 lives on August 17th and in the early hours of the following day in Barcelona and the nearby resort town of Cambrils.
14 people died in Barcelona as one of the terrorists drove a van at high speed down Las Ramblas, while another was killed as the terrorist made his escape and a 16th person died in Cambrils.
However, according to the El Periodico newspaper, the death toll could have been much higher, as the terrorists had originally planned to attack supporters at the opening game of the Spanish football season between FC Barcelona and Real Betis at the Camp Nou, as well as other emblematic sites such as the Sagrada Familia church and the Razzmataz nightclub.
"It is very possible that they wanted to attempt the same as in the Paris attacks, where the Saint-Denis stadium was targeted in the middle of a match involving the French national team," the paper quotes a police source as saying.
The Barcelona-based newspaper reports that police investigating the attacks discovered information relating to the game and the Camp Nou stadium on the phone of Mohammed Hichamy, a member of the terrorist cell.
El Periodico also quotes the owner of a shop selling official FC Barcelona merchandise that two members of the terrorist cell had been in his store to buy products, reporting that it is not being ruled out that they wanted to pass themselves off as fans in order to enter the ground with explosives.
An explosion in the Alcanar house that the cell had rented in order to manufacture the explosives to be used in the attacks killed two members of the group, prompting a change of plan to attack Las Ramblas rather than the previous targets.