Spanish police detonate suspicious package sent to US Embassy in Madrid

Spain steps up security after spate of letter bombs since Wednesday

Spain's King Felipe and Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez at the Torrejon de Ardoz base in Madrid, one of the places to receive a letter bomb. EPA
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Spanish police detonated a suspicious envelope sent to the US Embassy on Thursday, a day after a letter bomb detonated at the Ukrainian Embassy, injuring an employee.

"We can confirm a suspicious package was received at the US Embassy in Madrid, and are aware of reports of other packages sent to additional locations throughout Spain," a State Department spokesman said.

Spanish police said earlier that they had stepped up security at government offices and diplomatic missions in response to a spate of letter bombs.

A weapons manufacturing company in north-eastern Spain also received a letter bomb on Wednesday, officials said.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez received an envelope with "pyrotechnic material" last week, and an explosive letter arrived at the EU's Satellite Centre at the Torrejon de Ardroz airbase in the early hours of Thursday morning, the Interior Ministry said.

The Defence Ministry received a letter bomb addressed to Defence Minister Margarita Robles, who was visiting Ukraine on Thursday to support its resistance to Russia's military invasion launched in February.

The letter bomb sent to the airbase was in a brown envelope similar to those sent to the Defence Ministry, Prime Minister's office and Ukrainian embassy, a source close to the investigation told Reuters.

It was later confirmed to contain an explosive device, prompting police and the national guard to secure the area.

The base, in Madrid municipality, is also home to Nato agencies.

Spain's postal service has been asked to collaborate in a screening of all similar envelopes, the source added.

Early indications suggest the packages were posted from within Spain, officials said, adding there would be no immediate change to Spain's terrorist threat level.

The letter sent to the Ukrainian Embassy arrived by ordinary mail and was not scanned, Mercedes Gonzalez, the Spanish government's representative in Madrid, told broadcaster Telemadrid. It was reportedly addressed to the ambassador and aroused suspicion from employees at the mission before it was opened.

Police are now investigating the incident as an act of terrorism.

Russia's embassy in Spain has said it condemns "any threat or terrorist act" in response to the embassy attack.

Updated: December 01, 2022, 4:50 PM