Madrid Atocha bomb scare ‘a false alarm’

Updated: A man arrested for threatening to blow up a suburban train as it entered Madrid's Atocha station on Friday morning is suffering psychiatric problems, Spain's interior ministry said on Friday.

Madrid Atocha bomb scare 'a false alarm'
Police deviate traffic at the entrance to Madrid's Atocha railway station on Friday following a false alarm when a man threatened to blow himself up. Photo: Dani Pozo/AFP

The train from Madrid's southern Vallecas district was evacuated some 400 metres (440 yards) before entering Atocha station after a man carrying a backpack threatened to blow up the train.

The busy central station was also evacuated after the incident but reopened late in the morning on Friday.

The man — reportedly from North Africa — was arrested with police confirming he was not carrying explosives.

Catalan daily La Vanguardia reported his backpack contained only a bottle of water. 

Spain's interior minister Jorge Fernández Díaz said the man was undergoing psychiatric treatment and had spent a week in a Madrid clinic in December.

On March 11th 2004, Al-Qaeda-inspired bombers blew up four packed commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people. Around 2,000 people were injured in the attacks. 

Friday's false alarm comes a week after a man rammed a car loaded with gas bottles into the headquarters of Spain's ruling Popular Party in Madrid.

He claimed he was carrying 15 kilograms of the explosive ammonal — a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminium powder — and a number of timers.

However, initial analysis showed that while a substance found in the car was flammable, it wasn't an explosive.

Nobody was hurt in the attack. 

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