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 group.