False alarm bomb scares set off security alerts at Barcelona, Madrid train stations | News | DW | 07.11.2018
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False alarm bomb scares set off security alerts at Barcelona, Madrid train stations

Train service in the Spanish city of Barcelona was disrupted after the rail network was partially shut down because of a bomb scare. Madrid’s Atocha mainline train station was also evacuated.

Authorities in Barcelona on Wednesday said the city's central Sants station had reopened after an explosives search was conducted on two trains.

Catalonia's regional police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, said the security operation had been sparked by the discovery of a possible explosive device in a suitcase. Security staff detected the object during a routine luggage scanning procedure for boarding high-speed Spanish trains, at about 8 a.m. local time.

The station was closed while the searches were carried out, in accordance with standard security protocols.

"It has been established that there is no danger in relation to this morning's sighting of a suspicious object at Sants station," the Mossos said.

The disruption was later found to have been triggered by a grenade-shaped belt buckle in a passenger's luggage.

 "Everything returns to normal," said the National Police in a tweet.

In Madrid, the Spanish state-owned rail firm RENFE said it evacuated the city's main train station, Atocha, as that is where the passenger was headed.

"Our agents have carried out the relevant checks in Atocha station in Madrid and it is a false alarm.

The police operation has been stood down. Everything is returning to normal," Spain's National Police said via Twitter 

Atocha was the scene of the 2004 Madrid train bombings in which simultaneous, coordinated explosions were detonated on four separate commuter trains, killing 193 people and injuring around 2,000.  An official investigation found that the attacks were directed by an al-Qaida terror cell, although no direct link with al-Qaida was established.

rc/sms (AP, Reuters)

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