Explosive package found in US Embassy in Madrid
Spanish police on Thursday cordoned off the area around the US embassy in Madrid and activated anti-terrorist protocols after a letter bomb was delivered to the building, Spanish authorities say.
According to the Spanish Interior Ministry, police successfully detonated the package after evacuating nearby buildings. The ministry noted that there have been no reports of injuries related to the incident.
This comes after five letter bombs were sent to various targets across the country in the past two days, including to the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, where one worker was injured on Wednesday after opening the package.
Spain’s deputy interior minister Rafael Perez explained on Thursday at a press conference that the shipments appeared to have been hand-made and were all sent in brown envelopes containing pyrotechnic material and an activation system inside. He pointed out that, according to preliminary analysis, the system within these packages is meant to cause a flare, but not an explosion. He suggested that the letters do not justify raising the terror-threat level in the country and has encouraged people to stay calm.
The packages, which Perez says were sent from within Spain, were discovered at the country's Defense Ministry, at a satellite center at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base and at an arms factory in the northeastern city of Zaragoza that makes grenade launchers being sent to Ukraine, according to a statement by Spanish authorities.
It was also revealed that Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had received the same kind of package on November 24, which was subsequently disposed of by bomb-squad experts.
After Wednesday’s explosion at the Ukrainian Embassy, which left one worker with minor injuries, its foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba ordered that security be stepped up at all of Kiev's embassies around the world, and has asked Spanish authorities for a quick and thorough investigation into the incident.
A government official in the city of Zaragoza has said that both the factory and Ukrainian embassy packages had the same email address listed as the sender, according to AP. No further details were given.
Spain’s National Court has since announced that it has officially opened an investigation into the string of incidents, which it is treating as an act of terrorism.