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False explosives alarms halt trains in Madrid and Barcelona

AP , Wednesday 7 Nov 2018
Passengers queue in a security check point at Atocha train station after it was reopened in Madrid, Spain, November 7, 2018 (Photo: Reuters)
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Rail services in Spain's two main cities suffered disruptions Wednesday after a suspicious suitcase triggered alarms for possible explosives and prompted station evacuations before police declared it a false alarm.

An official with Spain's National Police said the alert was ended after agents in Madrid confirmed that a suspicious object in the bags of a female passenger who had traveled on a high-speed train from Barcelona didn't pose any danger.

The official was not authorized to be named in media reports.

``Everything returns to normal,'' said the National Police in a brief tweet explaining that disruptions in the long-distance and commuter train stations in the Spanish capital had been due to the false alarm.

The search in the capital followed police searching high-speed trains and railway tracks in the country's second largest city, Barcelona, after the central Sants station's security scanner identified an object shaped like a possible explosive device inside a suitcase.

It was unclear why the suspicious case was allowed onto the train.

An AP reporter at the scene in Barcelona saw long queues of passengers waiting for rail traffic to resume.

A homegrown extremist cell killed 16 people in August last year in Barcelona and a nearby coastal resort in consecutive vehicle and knife attacks that were later claimed by the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

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