Police in Spain arrested a Spanish man on suspicion of sending six letter bombs to the Spanish prime minister, Ukraine’s ambassador to Madrid and other high-profile targets late last year, the country’s interior ministry said in a statement Wednesday.
The arrest of the 74-year-old suspect took place in the town of Miranda de Ebro, about three hours north of Madrid, the ministry’s press service said.
According to police, the suspect is retired, “very active on social media” and has technical and computer skills, a statement said.
Police determined that the suspect cooperated in sending the six letters from the city of Burgos, about an hour’s drive southwest of Miranda de Ebro.
While “it is believed that the suspect made and shipped the explosives single-handedly, police are not ruling out the participation or influence of other people in these events,” the ministry said.
Police searched the suspect’s house in Miranda de Ebro, where the bombs are believed to have been collected, according to the statement.
The investigation spanned several counties before the suspect’s arrest. He was not fully identified, but police passed his initials as “PGP,” the statement added.
The arrest of the suspect is part of an ongoing operation coordinated by an investigating judge from the National Court of Spain in Madrid, the Interior Ministry said.
The accused is expected to be arraigned Friday before a National Court judge in a closed-door hearing, the court’s press office told CNN.
Some background: The only reported injury of the six letter bombs was at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid on November 30. An embassy employee was injured while handling the letter, which was addressed to the Ukrainian ambassador, Spanish officials said at the time.
Authorities said the other five letter bombs, all intercepted by security checks and causing no injuries, were sent in late November or early December.
They were sent to the Spanish Prime Minister, the Spanish Defense Minister, the US Embassy in Madrid, a Spanish air base near Madrid and a Spanish arms maker in the northern city of Zaragoza.
Spanish media reported that weapons from Spanish arms manufacturer Instalaza were reportedly sent by Spain last year to help Ukraine fight Russia’s invasion of that country. The company declined to comment to CNN about the reports.
On December 1, 2022, the Ministry ordered increased security at embassies and consulates in Spain, and other locations requiring special protection. Security had already been stepped up after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February last year.
Following the wave of letter bombs, the Russian embassy in Madrid tweeted that it condemned the sending of such devices.
“We condemn any threat or act of terrorism,” it tweeted.
But US officials believe Russian intelligence officers directed a Russian white supremacist group to carry out the bombing campaign as a warning to European governments that have rallied around Ukraine since the Russian invasion.