Explosive device detonated outside Alabama attorney general’s office

<span>The Alabama attorney general, Steve Marshall, outside the US supreme court on 4 October 2022.</span><span>Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP</span>
The Alabama attorney general, Steve Marshall, outside the US supreme court on 4 October 2022.Photograph: Patrick Semansky/AP
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Officials in Alabama said on Monday they had launched an investigation into the detonation of an explosive device outside the office of the state’s attorney general at the weekend.

“Thankfully, no staff or personnel were injured by the explosion. The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (Alea) will be leading the investigation, and we are urging anyone with information to contact them immediately,” the attorney general, Steve Marshall, said in a statement.

The explosion, he said, occurred early on Saturday.

In a statement to the Guardian on Monday night, Alea said it was notified of the incident earlier in the day. “It was determined that the suspicious package was an explosive device that was detonated in the early morning hours of Saturday, February 24,” it said.

“No injuries or damage to nearby buildings have been reported. Troopers, along with agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and officers from Montgomery police department, responded to the scene and deemed the area safe.

“The investigation remains ongoing.”

Marshall, a Republican, has recently become embroiled in controversy following last week’s decision by Alabama’s supreme court that embryos created by in vitro fertilization are “extrauterine children”, a decision that has effectively halted IVF treatments in the state as providers fearful of prosecution have shuttered operations.

Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris led a Democratic party wave of criticism of the ruling, while on the Republican side, Donald Trump expressed his “strong support” for IVF treatments in a weekend post on his Truth Social platform.

In a statement, the Republican House speaker, Mike Johnson, said he applauded Alabama state politicians “for immediately working to protect life and ensure that IVF treatment is available to families throughout the state”.

At the weekend, Marshall’s representatives tried to calm what has become an increasingly chaotic situation.

“Attorney General Marshall has no intention of using the recent Alabama supreme court decision as a basis for prosecuting IVF families or providers,” Katherine Robertson, chief counsel in the Alabama attorney general’s office, said in a statement.

On Monday, Amanda Priest, a spokesperson for Marshall’s office, warned reporters “not to jump to conclusions about a specific issue” in seeking a motive for the explosion, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, an Alabama judge remained in hospital on Monday after he was shot at his Montgomery county home the same day. Johnny Hardwick, presiding judge of the 15th judicial circuit, underwent surgery following Saturday’s shooting.

The judge’s son, Khalfani Hardwick, was arrested in connection with the attack. There was no immediate indication the shooting was linked with the explosion at Marshall’s office.