Spain said on Thursday it was stepping up security after a series of letter bombs were discovered in the country, including one sent to Spain’s prime minister last week and another to the US embassy.
The sixth and final bomb was discovered on Thursday afternoon and sent to the US Embassy in Madrid. He was apprehended around 12:30 p.m. local time at the embassy security post, a police source told CNN. A special protocol has been activated for these cases, the source added.
“We are grateful to Spanish law enforcement for their assistance in this matter,” Jamie Martin, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, told CNN.
An earlier bomb sent to an air base near Madrid was discovered before dawn on Thursday after a exploded at the Ukrainian embassy in the capital on Wednesday, and another was defused at a weapons manufacturer.
A device addressed to Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez arrived in the mail at his official compound in Moncloa on November 24 and his security team identified it as suspicious. After establishing a security perimeter, they carried out a “controlled explosion” of the envelope, the interior ministry said in a statement.
The bomb “will be similar in its characteristics and content” to those found on Wednesday at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid and at arms manufacturer Instalaza in Zaragoza, and on Thursday at Spain’s Torrejon air force base near Madrid, the statement said .
The latest letter bomb was intercepted shortly before dawn on Thursday after being sent to Torrejon Air Force Base.
Spanish Defense Ministry officials said a suspicious envelope was detected by a scanner at the base. The scan showed the envelope may have “some mechanism” inside, it said in a statement. Police were called to the base to analyze the envelope, which was addressed to the air base’s satellite center.
Spain’s defense ministry also received a bombshell letter addressed to Defense Minister Margarita Robles, State Security Secretary Rafael Perez said on Thursday.
Perez said the letters were likely sent from Spanish territory and that in four of the five cases, the security measures worked successfully to neutralize the bombs.
People should remain “calm”, the minister said, and there was still no reason to justify raising a terrorist threat.
The latest developments followed the discovery of two letter bombs on Wednesday. The first exploded at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid in the afternoon, injuring an employee, Spanish officials said.
That envelope, addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain, exploded after being handled by a Ukrainian employee at the embassy, the Spanish foreign ministry said in a statement. Later in the evening, police defused a letter bomb at a weapons manufacturer in northern Spain, a senior Spanish official said.
The envelope sent to the arms manufacturer had the same return address as the envelope that blew up at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, official Rosa Serrano said in an interview with Spanish radio station SER late Wednesday.
“The return address on the envelope is an email that’s the same” on both envelopes, said Serrano, who is a top Spanish government official in the Aragon region where the second letter bomb arrived.
The envelope at the arms manufacturer in the city of Zaragoza, Aragon, “obviously came from Ukraine,” Serrano said, adding that authorities suspect the one at the embassy may also be from Ukraine.
An executive at the arms maker apparently knew about the explosion in Madrid, so when an envelope arrived soon after that no one seemed to recognize, the company called the police, Serrano said.
The bomb squad arrived and police found the envelope contained explosives designed to detonate when opened. It was disabled, Serrano said.
Serrano did not identify the firm, but Spanish media reported its name and said it made rocket launchers that Spain had sent to Ukraine as it fought The invasion of Russia. CNN could not immediately confirm that detail.
“I know the company has been a weapons manufacturer for a long time, with state-of-the-art facilities,” Serrano said in a radio interview.
Police have notified Spain’s National Court, which investigates terrorism, of each of the letter bombs, the statement said.
The Ministry of the Interior has ordered increased security measures at all embassies and consulates in Spain, as well as at other sites requiring special protection. Security had already been heightened since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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