Spanish police arrest man in letter bomb case

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Spanish police have arrested a 74-year-old man suspected of sending letter bombs to the Prime Minister’s office, the US and Ukrainian embassies and an arms manufacturer, among other sites, Spain’s Ministry of Intelligence said on Wednesday. Interior.

US officials had previously said they suspected Russian military intelligence officers had ordered associates of a militant white supremacist group to carry out the campaign.

But Spain’s Interior Ministry, in its statement on the arrest, did not mention any possible links between the detained man and far-right groups or Russia. According to the ministry, Spanish authorities believe the arrested man, a Spanish citizen, fabricated and sent the six letter bombs himself, although the “participation or influence of other people” has not been ruled out. .

The ministry did not name the detained man, providing only his initials, PGP. The press release describes him as retired, “very active” on social networks and having “technical and computer knowledge”.

The letter bombs were all sent from the city of Burgos in northeastern Spain, the main city in the Burgos region, the statement said. The man was arrested in a town in that province, and authorities were conducting a search of the man’s home, where investigators believe he made the explosive devices, the ministry said.

It was not immediately clear from the statement whether the man had been formally charged.

Six letter bombs were sent in late November and early December to sites mainly in Madrid, including the official residence of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, which also serves as his office; the two embassies; and the Spanish Ministry of Defence.

No one was killed in the attacks, which US officials described as terrorism. A Ukrainian Embassy employee was injured when one of the packages exploded.

One of the letter bombs was also sent to Instalaza, an arms manufacturer in Zaragoza, northeastern Spain. Instalaza manufactures grenade launchers supplied to Ukraine by the Spanish government.

Investigators had focused in recent weeks on Russian Imperial Movementa group that has members and associates across Europe, according to US officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to sensitivities around the investigation.

Officials added that the group, which has been designated a Global Terrorist Organization by the US State Department, is believed to have links to Russian intelligence agencies.

The apparent purpose of the action, according to US officials, was to signal that Russia and its proxies could carry out terrorist strikes across Europe, including in the capitals of NATO member states, which helps defend Ukraine against the Russian invasion. Spain is a member of the alliance and has given hundreds of millions of dollars in military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, as well as diplomatic support.