Spain boosts security as prime minister and US embassy targeted amid series of letter bombs
By Paul Misfud
Following the discovery of several letter bombs throughout the nation, including one that was mailed to the US embassy and the prime minister of Spain last week, Spain announced on Thursday that it was stepping up security measures.
The US embassy in Madrid received notification of the sixth and most recent device Thursday afternoon. A police source told CNN that it was deflected at the embassy's security post at 12.30 p.m. local time. According to the source, a unique procedure was activated in these circumstances.
According to Jamie Martin, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Madrid, "We are thankful to Spanish law authorities for their assistance in this situation."
After a bomb went off at the Ukrainian embassy in the capital on Wednesday and another was deactivated at an armaments manufacturer, a previous bomb that had been shipped to an air force installation close to Madrid was found early on Thursday morning.
On November 24, a package addressed to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrived at his official Moncloa property, and his security detail immediately recognised it as odd. They executed a "managed explosion" of the envelope after constructing a security perimeter, according to a statement from the interior ministry.
According to the statement, the bomb "would be identical, for its features and content," to those found on Wednesday at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, the arms company Instalaza in Zaragoza, and on Thursday at Spain's Torrejon air force base close to Madrid.
The most recent mail bomb was addressed to the Torrejon air force installation and was intercepted Thursday soon before dawn.
According to representatives of the Spanish defense ministry, a scanner at the base picked up a suspicious packet. According to a statement, the scan suggested that the envelope may contain "some form of device." The envelope, which was addressed to the Satellite Center at the air base, was examined by police after they were called to the facility.
According to Rafael Perez, the Secretary of State for Security, the Spanish defence ministry also received a mail bomb addressed to Margarita Robles, the defence minister.
According to Perez, the letters were probably mailed from Spanish territory, and in four of the five incidents, security precautions were successful in disarming the devices.
The minister advised people to remain "cool," adding that there was still no justification for issuing a terror alert.
The most recent discoveries came after two mail bombs were found on Wednesday. An employee was hurt in the afternoon explosion at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, according to Spanish officials.
According to a statement from Spain's foreign ministry, a Ukrainian employee at the embassy handled the mail intended to the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain before it exploded. A top Spanish official reported that later that evening, authorities in northern Spain neutralised a letter bomb at a weapons company.
According to the official, Rosa Serrano, the letter sent to the arms manufacturer had the same return address as the envelope that detonated at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid late on Wednesday.
According to Serrano, the chief representative of the Spanish government in the region of Aragon where the second letter bomb was delivered, "the return address on the envelope is an email that is the same" on both envelopes.
According to Serrano, the package at the armaments manufacturer in the Aragonese city of Zaragoza "probably arrived from Ukraine," and authorities believe the mail at the embassy may have done the same.
When an envelope arrived shortly after the Madrid explosion that no one seemed to recognise, the arms factory notified the police, according to Serrano, who said that someone executive there was apparently informed of the blast.
When the bomb squad came, the police discovered explosives within the package that were intended to detonate upon opening. Serrano said that it was disabled.
Serrano did not name the company, but the name was given by Spanish media, which also stated that the company produced the rocket launchers that Spain had deployed to Ukraine to fight the Russian incursion. That information was not immediately confirmed by CNN.
In the radio interview, Serrano stated, "I know the organization has been an armaments producer for a long time, with cutting-edge capabilities.
Each letter bomb was reported by police to Spain's National Court, which looks into terrorism, according to the statement.
All Spanish embassies and consulates as well as other locations that require special security have been instructed to implement heightened security measures by the interior ministry. After Russia's invasion of Ukraine began, security had already been tightened.