CIA May Be Behind February Attack on North Korean Embassy in Madrid

Although the majority of the assailants, who sped away in two of the embassy's cars before vanishing, have been identified as Koreans, two "have been recognised by Spanish secret services as being linked with the CIA", "El Pais" reported yesterday. Sources in the Spanish government believe that if the CIA's involvement in the attack is confirmed, it will be regarded as "unacceptable" actions by the ally.

Spanish authorities said police were investigating an incident last week at the North Korean Embassy in Madrid in which a woman was hurt and, according to a North Korean government's aide, computers and cellphones also were stolen.

According to El Pais, Spain asked for clarification from the CIA but the United States spy agency denied any involvement.

Local media reports that on the afternoon of 22 February, a group of 10 people broke into North Korea's embassy, north-west of the Spanish capital's centre.

What's more, unlike other intelligence activities - such as cyberattacks, which are characterized by their discretion, the attack on the North Korean embassy was especially violent. One woman was eventually able to climb out of a second-story window and contact Spanish police.

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When officers arrived at the scene, a man opened the door and told them nothing was going on. They tied up the eight people inside and put bags on their heads. They tied workers up inside and interrogated them, before making off with computers and cellphones. They were later found abandoned on a nearby street. Two of them required medical attention.

El País reported that Spanish investigators have ruled out the possibility that the attack was carried out by "common criminals".

North Korea's most recent ambassador to Spain, Kim Hyok-chol, played a key role ahead of the Hanoi summit, heading up the North Korea negotiating team that received a U.S. delegation in Pyongyang in early February to discuss denuclearisation.

El País pointed out that the robbery took place five days before Donald Trump's second summit with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

A court in Madrid is in charge of the investigation into the assault on the embassy but so far no arrests have been made. The meeting, aimed at securing North Korea's nuclear disarmament, ended in failure without any agreement on a timetable for disarmament or on future negotiations.

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