Friday, March 12, 2004

More Info About the Attacks

Today at Berria English:

192 dead and over 1,400 injured

Last night al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ten bombs exploding in four trains caused carnage in three Madrid railway stations.

From first thing in the morning ETA was being held responsible for the attack, despite denials late in the afternoon

Eider Goenaga
A bloody attack took place in Madrid yesterday with the detonating of ten bombs in four trains making their way to the Spanish capital. Initially, it was not thought to have been very big, but by late in the afternoon the figure was horrifying. 192 people had been killed and over 1,400 injured were being treated in Madrid hospitals. The attacks were perpetrated early in the morning, between 07.39 and 07.42 hours, and early in the morning Madrid was immersed in chaos. By 21.00 it was disclosed that a group close to al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for the Madrid attack.

The bombs had been placed in four trains and blew up in three different stations. The first two were detonated at the Atocha station: one inside the station and another a kilometre away. According to judicial sources involved in investigation work four explosive devices had been placed on each train; in the Atocha train, however, only three exploded. Barely a kilometre outside Atocha four bombs blew up the train close to Tellez street. At lease 34 people were killed inside Atocha and 63 near Tellez street.

Less than two minutes later there was an explosion in another station. At 07.41 two bombs placed on another train at El Pozo del Tio Raimundo station went off. That was where the most people were killed: at least 67. The last explosion was in the Santa Eugenia station in the Vallecas quarter. There was one bomb that killed sixteen people. So ten bombs had been let off in four trains. It should be pointed out that three of the trains had set out from the same station, Alcala de Henares, and the fourth had begun its journey in Guadalajara. And there were more bombs. Two hours after the attack the police carried out three controlled explosions. Two in Atocha and another in El Pozo del Tio Raimundo.

In Madrid there was no doubt whatsoever as to who was behind the slaughter and the media, the authorities and others angrily blamed ETA right from the start. Arnaldo Otegi, member of the Batasuna executive committee, was the only one to say that ETA had not been responsible. Others – EA, Aralar and AB– did not rule out any hypotheses and most of them blamed ETA. Angel Acebes, the Spanish Interior Minister, did likewise, moreover “without any doubt”.

They did not even mention that there could be a second theory until about 20.30 hours. Angel Acebes informed the media that a recording from the Koran and seven detonators had been found, and indicated that all the hypotheses and investigations remained open. Acebes said that a van stolen in Alcala de Henares had been searched and that was where the recording had been found. Although he stressed that they would be continuing to investigate ETA’s responsibility, he pointed out that there were other lines of investigation.

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