The area around the US embassy in Madrid was cordoned off on Thursday by the Spanish National Police which activated anti-terrorist protocols after a letter bomb was delivered to the building, Spanish authorities inform.
The bomb was intercepted at around 12.30 p.m. local time on Thursday at the security post of the embassy.
After the evacuation of the nearby buildings, the police’s bomb disposal experts successfully detonated the package in a controlled environment, the Spanish Interior Ministry announced, adding that there have been no reports of injuries related to the incident.
The US Department of State thanked Thursday night the Spanish security forces for the assistance with the letter, which it described as a “suspicious package”, and added that the US Embassy in Madrid remains open for American citizen consular services while they continue to evaluate the security situation and provide updates as appropriate.
Jamie Martin, a spokeswoman for the US Embassy in Madrid, noted that the security at the embassy was increased after suspicious packages were sent to other embassies Wednesday.
The package received by the US embassy in Madrid was the sixth in a wave of such devices sent to high-profile targets that alarmed Spain and prompted it to step up security and vow not to be deterred from supporting Ukraine.
In the past two days, five other letter bombs were sent to various targets across the country, including to Spain’s Defense Ministry, at a satellite center of the Torrejón de Ardoz air base, at an arms factory in the northeastern city of Zaragoza that makes grenade launchers Spain is sending to Ukraine and to the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, where one security guard was injured after opening the unscanned package.
According to Spain’s deputy interior minister Rafael Perez’s statement, all shipments were sent in brown envelopes containing pyrotechnic material and an activation system inside – which appeared to have been hand-made.
Preliminary analysis of all packages suggest they were apparently meant to cause a flare, but not an explosion and, ad Perez underscored, do not justify raising the terror-threat level in the country.
Yet, the Spanish National Court has opened an investigation into possible terrorism-related crimes and has raised suggestions of a link with Russia considering the nature of the targets of the letter bombs.
The Ukrainian ambassador to Spain, Sergi Pohoreltsev. seemed to be the first to hint at possible Russian involvement, pointing out that Kyiv knows its enemy is a terrorist state and that they can expect anything.
The Russian embassy in Madrid, however, condemned the incidents, stressing that any terrorist threat or act, even more so directed against a diplomatic mission, is totally reprehensible.