Navy base increases security after explosive devices sent to offices in Spain
Stars and Stripes December 2, 2022
Naval Station Rota is stepping up security in response to a recent spate of letter bombs sent to government officials and buildings in Spain, including the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, officials said Friday.
No specific threat to the base has been identified, but the command and Spanish security forces are taking additional precautions, said base spokeswoman Lt. j.g. Charena Camacho.
She added that no similar packages had been received at NS Rota, which is located along Spain’s Atlantic coast near Cadiz.
Citing security concerns, Camacho declined to specify the measures taken. But a Thursday post on the base’s official Facebook page said the actions would help “deter any potential threats.”
NS Rota is the homeport for four U.S. Navy destroyers that are a significant part of NATO’s ballistic missile defense. U.S. officials are in talks with Spain to increase the number of destroyers there from four to six.
The base’s announcement follows an incident Thursday in which a letter bomb sent to the U.S. Embassy was defused, Reuter’s reported the same day.
The bomb was the sixth such device sent to government agencies since Nov. 24.
On Wednesday, a bomb sent to the Ukrainian ambassador to Spain detonated, causing minor injuries to the hands of an embassy employee investigating it, according to Reuters, which reported that the employee also had a concussion``.
Similar packages or letters also have been sent to Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s defense ministry, an air force base and a weapons manufacturer, according to Reuters.
In an interview posted to the Twitter account of Spanish TV news agency RTVE Noticias, Serhii Pohoreltsev, Ukraine’s ambassador to Spain, appeared to suggest that Russia was behind the campaign.
"We know the terrorist methods of the aggressor country and we are ready for any type of emergency that may arise," Pohoreltsev was quoted as saying in the post.
The Russian Embassy in Spain condemned the letter bombs on its Twitter, saying that “any terrorist threat or act, even more directed against a diplomatic mission, is totally reprehensible.”