Saturday 23 March 2019

Raiders who beat North Korea embassy staff have links to CIA - report

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

James Badcock

SPANISH investigators believe two assailants who broke into the North Korean embassy in Madrid last month and took hostages have links to the CIA, according to reports.

Ten individuals who broke into the embassy, before tying up and beating staff as they looked for information on computers, remain at large.

But sources from the investigation told 'El Pais', the Spanish newspaper, that they were able to identify several of the attackers from videos.

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.

According to the newspaper, investigators from the Spanish police and CNI secret service contacted the CIA to ask for an explanation.

The response, according to Spanish government sources, was "unconvincing".

Computers and mobile phones were taken during the break-in, which happened five days before the start of the Hanoi summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

Summit

Kim Hyok-chol, North Korea's most recent ambassador to Spain, played a key role ahead of the summit, leading the negotiating team that received a US delegation in Pyongyang last month to discuss denuclearisation.

He was expelled by Spain in September 2017 in protest at North Korean nuclear tests and has not been replaced.

Police were alerted to the break-in when a woman - one of the eight members of embassy staff on duty - began shouting in the street. Soon after officers arrived, the 10 assailants sped away.

A court in Madrid is in charge of the investigation into the break-in. No arrests have been made.

The US embassy in Spain has been asked to comment. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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