Buenos Aires Times

argentina HIGH ALERT

False alarms and bomb threats spark security concerns ahead of G20 summit

False alarms, bomb threats and decade-old grenades prompt security concerns in the capital, just 10 days before the world's leaders converge on the capital for the G20 Leaders Summit.

Tuesday 20 November, 2018
The US Embassy in Buenos Aires.
The US Embassy in Buenos Aires. Foto:COURTESY US EMBASSY IN BUENOS AIRES

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Bomb threats, false alarms and the discovery of two grenades have put security forces in the capital on high alert, just 10 days before the world's most powerful leaders converge on the capital for the G20 Leaders Summit in Buenos Aires at the turn of the month.

The US Embassy in Buenos Aires was evacuated this morning after a 'suspicious object' was identified on its premises. However, officials later said it was a false alarm. The evacuation took place at 9am local time, just as the building was opening its doors to serve the public.

"During a routine check carried out of the Embassy's premises, a suspicious object was identified, and when the object was inspected, it was determined that it did not pose a threat," the Embassy said in a post on Twitter.

In another development that elicited concerns, in the early hours of this morning two grenades were discovered under the carriage of the a train operating on the San Martín railway line. However, they were discovered to be obsolete, posing no threat. Nonetheless, the line – which runs to Retiro in the capital – was hit by an hour of delays. At 7.30am the service had began to be normalised. 

Details of this news are scarce at present, but according to reports two mechanics discovered the grenades when they were checking the train carriages before sending them into service. Experts say the explosives were more than 20 years old.

Elsewhere in the capital, a bomb threat was called into the Álvarez Hospital in the Flores neighbourhood, which was also evacuated as anti-explosive officers and firefighters searched the grounds for suspicious packages. 

Also today, a branch of Banco Galicia in downtown Buenos Aires was evacuated after a bomb threat was called in via 911. The building that hosts the branch was immediately evacuated, leaving more than 2,000 people waiting on the streets as police officers and explosives experts combed the building. That security operation is still underway at the time of publication.

In recent days, Buenos Aires has been shaken by a series of security concerns, with two attempted attacks – one on the City's famous cemetery in Recoleta and the second on the home of federal judge Claudio Bonadio – have sparked security concerns. 

A huge security operation is already underway to police the upcoming G20 summit, which will see world leaders including Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and Xi Jinping descend on Buenos Aires for a two-day meeting.

- TIMES/AFP/PERFIL

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