Spain police evacuate stations in Madrid, Barcelona

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Barcelona (Spain), Nov 7 (IANS) Spanish police evacuated passengers from a major railway station in Madrid and from two high-speed trains in Barcelona on Wednesday following security alerts that proved to be false alarms, authorities said.

Regional police in Catalonia ordered passengers off two high-speed trains at Barcelona’s Sants railway station in the morning and bomb disposal units carried out an investigation after security scanners detected a suspicious package inside a suitcase, reports Efe news.

Two hours later, National Police in the capital Madrid ordered the full evacuation of the city’s Atocha station, which serves both long-distance and suburban railway systems.

“Our agents carried out relevant checks at the Atocha station in Madrid and it turns out to be a false alarm,” the National Police said in a statement on Twitter. “Everything has returned to normal.”

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The Mossos d’Esquadra, the Catalan police force, said checks confirmed the suspicious package discovered by the luggage scanner, sparking concerns that an explosive device was concealed inside a suitcase, did not, in fact, pose any danger to the public.

One high-speed train destined for Madrid and another for Paris were evacuated during the security operation.

Spain’s terror alert has been at set at the second-highest level in since 2015.

In August 2017, 16 people were killed in terror attacks in Catalonia.

On the afternoon of August 17, a 22-year-old assailant ran a van into pedestrians on the city’s iconic tree-lined La Rambla mall, killing 15 and injuring over 100 more in an attack allegedly inspired by the Islamic State terror organization.

It was the bloodiest terror attack on Spanish soil since the coordinated bombing attack at the Atocha train station that on March 11, 2004, killed 193 people.

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–IANS

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