BARCELONA (Reuters) - Spanish police shot dead five would-be attackers after confronting them early on Friday in a town south of Barcelona where hours earlier a suspected Islamist militant drove a van into crowds, killing 13 people and wounding scores of others.

Islamic State said the perpetrators had been responding to its call for action by carrying out Thursday's rampage along Barcelona's most famous avenue, which was thronged with tourists enjoying an afternoon stroll at the peak of the summer season.

Bodies, many motionless, were left strewn across the avenue and authorities said the toll of dead, which included several children, could rise, with more than 100 injured.

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