Spain investigates possible Central Intelligence Agency links to embassy break

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The attack on February 22 was initially reported by Spanish online newspaper El Confidencial on February 27, prompting Spain's National Intelligence Center and police intelligence division to investigate the case.

The online newspaper El Confidencial, which broke news of the raid, reported that the group of men tied up and threatened staff, fleeing only after a woman managed to free herself and raise the alarm.

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

When officers arrived at the scene, a man opened the door and told them nothing was going on.

Spanish investigators ruled out the possibility that the attack was by common criminals as the attackers knew what they were looking for, taking only computers and cellphones.

The attackers had bound the staff, placing bags over their heads and beating them as they searched for files.

Both cars were found abandoned nearby shortly afterwards.

Lead roles: North Korea leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump meet in Hanoi, Vietnam last month.

"The operation was perfectly planned as if it were carried out by a military cell", they said.

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Investigators at the Centre for National Intelligence (CNI), the Spanish secret service, believe two of the raiders have links to the CIA, according to sources who spoke to El País.

Why would anyone attack the embassy?

"Sources believe that the goal of the attack on the North Korean embassy was to get information on Kim Hyok Chol, the former North Korean ambassador to Spain", El País reported on Wednesday.

Since 2017, when Kim Hyok Chol was expelled from Spain as "persona non grata" after nuclear tests and missile firings by Pyongyang, the secretive state has had diplomatic representation in Madrid but no ambassador.

However, it is unclear precisely why the embassy attack took place, or who was involved.

Police were alerted to an incident at the mission when a woman, one of the eight members of embassy staff on duty at the time, began shouting in the street outside. And breaking into another country's embassy would be a huge breach of worldwide protocol.

The CIA has denied any involvement, but Spanish officials reportedly said the agency's response was "unconvincing".

The nation's High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, will hear the investigation and could order the arrest of any identified assailants.

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