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Spain: Bombs Rip Through Train Stations At Rush Hour

 
 
hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 01:41 pm
Well, what do they know? Only FOX is fair and balanced. Wink
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fealola
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 01:42 pm
Confused Smile
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 02:23 pm
Well, obviously Spain police was the source for that Fox News report. However, ETA seems to remain the key suspect in the blasts, regarding "other officials".
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hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 02:25 pm
Now, let me add that I could very easily see AQ extending its "crusade" against Spain, as one of the nations that is participating in the rape of Iraq.
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hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 02:30 pm
From CNN (via Netscape)
Work of the ETA
Quote:

Spain rail blasts: 190 dead

Thursday, March 11, 2004 Posted: 2:00 PM EST (1900 GMT)



MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- A series of co-ordinated bomb attacks on Madrid's commuter train system killed at least 190 people and wounded more than 1,200 at the height of the city's rush hour, the Interior Ministry said.

Spanish officials are blaming terrorists from the Basque separatist group ETA -- designated a terror group by the United States and the European Union -- for the attack.

But so far, there has been no claim of responsibility.

The Spanish ambassador to the United States, Javier Ruperez, believes ETA was responsible and said "in a way it is" Spain's September 11, referring to the U.S. terror attacks in 2001.

"We have been fighting against terrorism for the last 35 years. I know what terrorism is. I was kidnapped in 1979 by the same people," Ruperez said.

"We've been fighting against that scourge for quite a number of years. But, certainly, this is the first time we have that massive experience of being killed."

Before Thursday's attack, the highest death toll in any ETA-linked attack was in 1987 -- when 21 were killed in a Barcelona supermarket blast.

Attacks blamed on or claimed by ETA through the years have killed 800 people in Spain.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar addressed the nation and condemned the terrorists attack, saying ETA must be crushed, and opposed negotiations with them.

"There is no possible negotiation with these killers," he said.

An official from Spain's northern Basque region called it the worst terrorist attack in Spanish history.

Countries across the world expressed their outrage. (Global reaction)

U.S. President George W. Bush sent his condolences to Spain, one of the top U.S. allies in the Iraqi war, saying "we weep with the families" and "we stand strong with the people of Spain."

British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw called it "a disgusting assault on the very principle of European democracy."

The U.N. Security Council unanimously passed a resolution condemning the bombings, but did not cast blame on any group.

The attacks took place at the height of Thursday's rush hour when three separate trains were hit by near-simultaneous explosions before 8 a.m. (2 a.m. ET) along the southern part of Madrid's train network, officials said.

Interior Minister Angel Acebes said there were a total of 10 explosions at the Santa Eugenia, El Pozo and Atocha stations, and three other bombs found and detonated by police.

The most deadly blast happened on a train entering Madrid's main Atocha station, according to Acebes.

Security forces found other bombs, and detonated them in controlled explosions, he added.

Survivors described scenes of chaos and panic in the Spanish capital.

"The worst was people screaming for help inside the train and there was nothing we could do," one survivor told CNN's Spanish sister network, CNN+.

People in tears walked away from the city's main Atocha station in droves as rescue workers carried bodies away from the scene.

Many people with bloodied faces sat on curbs, using mobile phones to tell loved ones they were alive. (More eyewitness)

The attack comes ahead of Sunday's general election in which Spain's conservative ruling Popular Party -- which has taken a hard-line stance against ETA -- is currently leading in the polls.

After the blasts, all political parties announced they were suspending campaign rallies ahead of Sunday's election, but there has been no word that elections would be suspended.

The government called for a three-day period of mourning and impromptu anti-ETA demonstrations have broken out in Madrid and other Spanish cities.
Demonstrators hold up their hands, calling for an end to violence, at a gathering in Seville.


Spanish police -- who have foiled several recent bombing attempts by ETA -- were on high alert for terror attacks by the separatist group ahead of Sunday's vote. (On The Scene)

Video of the scene showed the train at Atocha broken into pieces by the force of the explosions.

Medical staff set up a field hospital to treat the wounded at the scene, and buses were mobilized to help ambulances transport the wounded to hospitals.

Shortly after the blasts, Basque leader Juan Jose Ibarretxe held a news conference from the Basque capital of Vitoria, condemning the violence and calling for demonstrations against ETA.

Basque member of Parliament Gustavo Aristegui -- who was in Madrid at the time of the attack -- also blamed ETA for the attack.

"This is probably Spain's worst terrorist attack in history -- not probably, surely our worst terrorist attack ever," Aristegui told CNN. "There are people that are real monsters that are trying to blackmail the whole society through acts of terror."

In an interview on Radio Popular in the Basque country, Arnaldo Otegi, leader of banned radical political party Batasuna, said he did not believe ETA was responsible for the attacks.

The attacks, he said, could have been "an operation by sectors of the Arab resistance."

Citizens queue up to donate blood in Madrid.

But Acebes said Otegi was simply trying to confuse the situation.

ETA has been fighting for an independent homeland in northern Spain.

Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio placed the blame squarely on ETA, saying "we knew they are preparing a very big terror attack."

"ETA has a very clear pattern in its activities and we unfortunately have a long experience in dealing with them," she said.

On February 29, Spanish police seized more than 1,000 pounds of explosives and arrested two suspected ETA members who were planning to carry out an imminent attack in Madrid, an official said. (Full story)

CNN Madrid Bureau Chief Al Goodman contributed to this report.

Of course, This doesn't have that nifty partisan spin that FOX does. Wink
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 02:53 pm
The (London based) newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi says the claim of responsibility was issued by a group called The Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, in the name of al-Qaida.

It said the brigade's "death squad" had struck what it described as "one of the pillars of the crusade alliance."
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 03:06 pm
Now the Spanish government is saying it will not discard any route of investigation (meaning that they are now not absolutely certain it was ETA)... [that's why it's better to say you're 99% sure Wink].

Anyway, it's intersting how Otegi -officially not an ETA member- described the massacre: "an operation by sectors of the Arab resistance."

The type of explosive is the same ETA has used over the years. The magnitude of the operation is much bigger.

Could there be an ETA-Quaeda connection?
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fealola
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 03:10 pm
Looks like they could be joining forces to confuse the issue, anyway...
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 03:40 pm
Spain looking at link to Islamic militants
ETA remains top suspect, ministry says

Thursday, March 11, 2004 Posted: 3:27 PM EST (2027 GMT)
MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Although Spanish government officials Thursday pinned the blame on the horrific Madrid blasts to the Basque separatist group ETA, investigators are exploring a lead with Arabic and Islamic links.
Spanish Interior Ministry officials said Thursday they are investigating the new angle in the deadly series of Madrid blasts after the discovery of a van containing eight detonators and an Arabic tape with Koranic teachings.
A citizen's tip Thursday led to the van found near the commuter line. The tape is commercially available and contained no threats.
The new line of investigation raises the possibility of a link to Islamic militants.

Link to CNN
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 04:18 pm
Arab Paper Gets Spain Bombing Claim
By MAAMOUN YOUSSEF

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) - The Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi said Thursday it had received a claim of responsibility for the Madrid train bombings issued in the name of al-Qaida.

The five-page e-mail claim, signed by the shadowy Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri, was received at the paper's London offices. It said the brigade's ``death squad'' had penetrated ``one of the pillars of the crusade alliance, Spain,'' and carried out what it called Operation Death Trains.

``This is part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader, and America's ally in its war against Islam,'' the claim said.link
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 04:34 pm
Latest from the BBC:
Quote:
[...]
A message purportedly from al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden last year threatened Spain and other countries who supported the US-led war in Iraq.

But the BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, says US officials caution that al-Qaeda does not usually claim responsibility so early.

Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said he had instructed security forces not to rule out any line of inquiry after the discovery of a tape in Arabic with detonators in a stolen van near Madrid.
The tape - containing verses of the Koran relating to education - was one of seven in the vehicle found in Alcala de Henares, where three of the four bombed trains originated. The fourth train passed through the town.

But Mr Acebes said the Basque separatist group, Eta, remained the focus of the investigation, echoing earlier statements from officials.
[...]


According to a correspondant from the German TV (ARD), the three bombs, which didn't explod this morning, had been clocked to explode, when the police and rescue teams would arrive.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 11 Mar, 2004 09:16 pm
Sugar's link mentioned that ETA's bombings usually came with a warning. If it was that organization, maybe there is a new leader. Or, of course, maybe it wasn't them. Or a joint effort, as others are guessing.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 02:42 am
The Al-Masri Brigades, btw, are lacking credibility:

the same group claimed responsibility for the huge power failures in New York and Canada last year, failures which turned out to have nothing to do with terrorism.
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the prince
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 02:46 am
Whoever did it - all I know innocent people died. I am yet to hear from a very close friend, I dont have his number and I sent him an email yesterday, but till today morning I have had no reply. I hope he is okay
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 02:51 am
I do too, Gautam. Let us know.
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Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 09:09 am
Oh, Gautam I know that pain, the worry. My cousin was on his honeymoon during the Bali bombing.
I sure hope your friend is alright.

I heard this morning 198 dead and over 1000 injured. I can't imagine anyone being proud of this attrocity, regardless of their convictions. It's beyond sickening.
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gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 09:18 am
What is a lower life-form on earth than a terrorist?
And why the hell do we call them terrorists?

Let's call them what they are.... gutless cowards.
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 09:28 am
The problem is, which set of gutless cowards are we dealing with here? They are coming at us in multiple shades.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 09:56 am
It could be ETA are giving assistance to AQ.

The bombing had all the hallmarks of AQ. Islamist group have claimed responsibility and ETA denied responsibility. But the explosives were the same as have been used by ETA.

It would make sense for them to co operate. AQ to do the actual bombing, ETA to do the intelligence and logistics.

Similar co operation happens regularly in Iraq now between AQ suicide bombers who come from outside Iraq and Sunni extremists who know the territory.

The Spanish govt is keen to pin blame on ETA. Otherwise it reflects badly on them regarding their support for the war in Iraq.

Even more worrying is that these attacks are following a logical course. 17 dead Italians. 200 Spanish. How many attacks have been prevented by British security? We don't know, but we will know all about it when the bombers get through. When will this be?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Fri 12 Mar, 2004 10:03 am
Well, of course the conservative Spanish government likes to point at ETA in the view of the elections this Sunday:

- thus, they could get more votes from "undecided yet" and perhaps from the left as well.

If it would have been an AQ (or connected to it) attack, this would certainly change a lot, since the Spanish population was about 80% [not sure about the correct figures] against that war.



I still think, it really was ETA. And they changed their tactics, leaving falses marks.


Or the other way round, and AQ doing so.
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