Spain: Bombs Rip Through Train Stations At Rush Hour

Reply Sat 13 Mar, 2004 06:38 pm
Interior Minister Angel Acebes said a man identifying himself as the military spokesman of Al-Qaida in Europe claimed the group was responsible for the attacks Thursday that killed 200 people and wounded 1,500.

"We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid exactly 2 1/2 years after the attacks on New York and Washington," said the man, according to a government translation of the tape, which was recorded in Arabic. "It is a response to your collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies

Yup. It would definitely make me angry at the leaders of my country who chose to follow a psychopathic dictator with visions of world domination.
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Reply Sat 13 Mar, 2004 06:53 pm
If Aznar calls a spade a spade, and then the spade acts like a spade... who is to say it wasn't a spade all along?

This supposed "al-Qaeda spokesperson" is tying Iraq to 9/11... and then adding this newest terrorist attack to that as well. You don't see something creepy about that?

To me, it proves that the Muslim extremists are dangerous and need to be controlled or else this kind of thing (which had happened even prior to 9/11) will continue.

They are stupidly playing right into the right-wingers' hands.
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satt fs
Reply Sat 13 Mar, 2004 07:00 pm
Les doy mi más sentido pésame a españoles.
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Reply Sat 13 Mar, 2004 09:17 pm
Bombing's potential impact on elections
Spain bombs 'to drive poll turnout'
The display of national unity could boost the ruling party, say pundits
Thursday's bombs are expected to prompt Spain's voters to turn out in their millions for elections on Sunday.

"One thing no-one will dispute is that we are now likely to see a massive turnout," said Charles Powell, senior European affairs analyst at the Madrid-based think tank the Elcano Royal Institute.

"People are angry and upset, and they will demonstrate that by voting. It was going to be high anyway, but now I'd estimate it will be over 80%," he told BBC News Online.

Professor Juan Pablo Fusi, historian at Madrid University, concurred.

"These bombs are likely to increase turnout - to show that they agree with the government that the only way to defeat terrorism is through democracy, by voting," he told BBC News Online.

Who gains?

There is less consensus on which party will benefit.

The latest polls suggested a narrowing lead for the ruling Popular Party (PP), now led by Mariano Rajoy, the hand-picked successor of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar.

Now is a time to put all differences aside and to unite the wills of all Spaniards
Mariano Rajoy
PP leader

Profile: Mariano Rajoy
It was estimated to have a lead of 4.5 percentage points over the opposition Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE), led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

But that poll was taken three days before Thursday's attacks, which killed nearly 200 people aboard packed rush-hour trains in Madrid.

Investigators are now examining whether the Basque separatist group Eta may have been responsible or if Islamic militants supporting al-Qaeda may be to blame.

"Assuming it was Eta, the obvious emotional interpretation is this will make people back the party with the toughest line against them," politics professor Josu Mezo told Reuters news agency.

Whichever government is in power the terrorists will be hunted down to answer for their gruesome actions
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
PSOE leader

Profile: Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero
That party is generally agreed to be the ruling PP, which has campaigned on a strong line against the separatists.

"If it was an Islamic extremist group like al-Qaeda, everything would change," said Professor Mezo. "But it is really impossible to predict at the moment."

"The key point is evidence," said Professor Fusi.

"If it was Eta, people are likely to vote for the government. If it is al-Qaeda, many people may establish a connection with Spain's participation in the invasion of Iraq and vote against the government.

"But, in fact, it looks like we won't know for a while who did this. And unless concrete proof is found before Sunday, I believe things will stay much the same - the PP will win, but there will still be significant support for both parties."

Several analysts also agree that the mood of national unity sweeping Spain in the aftermath of the violence could also favour the ruling party.


But if further evidence is found to support a connection with al-Qaeda, says Mr Powell, another factor could see a significant swing to the Socialists.

We've never had anything as terrible as this, it's impossible to say how the Spanish people will react
Juan Diez
"If al-Qaeda is found to be involved, it could induce young left-wingers - who opposed the war in Iraq, but tend to abstain at the moment because of dissatisfaction with the left-wing parties - to go out and vote... and that could tilt the balance."

For other analysts, prediction is impossible in the face of these attacks, the worst carnage on Spanish soil since the 1936-39 civil war.

"My thoughts are with the dead now, I can't begin to think about the electoral consequences," analyst Juan Diez told Reuters.

"We've never had anything as terrible as this, it's impossible to say how the Spanish people will react. It's guesswork."
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 01:26 am
The implications of this horrific action boggle the mind. The pictures of the people marching, holding up white hands made me shudder. The needless pain.

Is there significance to the number 11 in the muslim faith? 3/11, 9/11. Is it a coincidence?
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 01:38 am

Last Update: Sunday, March 14, 2004. 5:01pm (AEDT)

'Al Qaeda' claims Madrid attacks
A videotape purportedly from Al Qaeda says the Islamic militant group bombed Madrid trains in retaliation for Spain's cooperation with the United States over Iraq.

Interior Minister Angel Acebes says the claim is made in Arabic by a man with a Moroccan accent.

"He makes the declaration in the name of someone who says he is the military spokesman of Al Qaeda in Europe," Mr Acebes said.

"If you don't stop your injustices more blood will flow and these attacks are very little compared with what may happen with what you call terrorism," the tape said.

The tape adds the attacks are in response "to the crimes you have caused in the world, concretely in Iraq and Afghanistan".

Mr Acebes says television station Telemadrid received a call from a man with an Arabic accent saying that a videotape had been put in a waste paper bin on the outskirts of Madrid. Police recovered it.

Spain says it is examining the reliability of the tape and urges caution.

The announcement comes just hours after Mr Acebes announced the arrest of three Moroccans and two Indians, possibly with ties to Moroccan militants.

While Government ministers pointed an early finger at Basque separatists ETA, an Arabic language audio tape, together with detonators, was found on Thursday in a van parked near the Alcala de Henares station.

Three of the four bombed trains originated from that station.

Investigators believe mobile phones were used to detonate 10 bombs hidden in backpacks on the four trains.

Those arrested are suspected of being involved in the sale and falsification of a mobile phone and SIM card found in an unexploded bomb on one of the trains.

Australia cautious

The Australian Government is responding cautiously to the videotape that claims Al Qaeda was responsible for the Madrid bombings.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says he does not know if it is genuine.

Mr Ruddock says there are a number of theories on who is behind the devastating attacks and has raised the possibility of Al Qaeda trying to take credit for someone else's work.

"Sometimes there are opportunitistic comments - you need to be alert," Mr Ruddock said.

"There are a number of possibilities and there is also the possibility that not only are there local interests but also international interests involved in what happened in Madrid," he said.

Federal Opposition foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd is remaining cautious about the video tape claiming Al Qaeda was responsible for the Madrid bombing but says that scenario is looking increasingly likely.

"The number one task of the international community today is to eliminate Al Qaeda and its sister organisations like Jemaah Islamiah - root and branch," Mr Rudd said.

"These are not just terrorists, they are mass murderers."

Poll overshadowed

Meanwhile, Spanish voters head to the polls today to cast ballots in a general election overshadowed by the attacks.

Prime Minister Aznar stands down at the vote but polls going into the election show his moderate, hand-picked successor Mariano Rajoy ahead of Socialist rival Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The election had been expected to focus on the robust economy and autonomy demands from Spain's powerful regions.

The only real question was whether the PP would win a second consecutive absolute majority or if it would be forced to cut a deal with regional parties to return to office.

But following Thursday's attacks, the vote could become a referendum on Mr Aznar's decision to join the US-led war in Iraq, the Government's handling of security issues and its early insistence Basque separatist guerrillas were to blame despite evidence pointing to possible Islamic militant involvement.

Thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets across Spain on Saturday night demanding to know "the truth" behind the rail bombs, denouncing the ruling Popular Party, and shouting slogans like "Don't Manipulate Our Dead!"

Political analysts say the PP stands to win votes if the culprits turn out to be ETA, because it has campaigned on its hardline stance against the armed Basque group.

But if the attacks are the work of ETA, they would also be a major escalation for a group that has killed 850 people in Spain over 36 years and is listed as a terrorist group by the United States and European Union.

If Al Qaeda or other radical Islamic groups are shown to be involved, voters might perceive the attacks as the price for Mr Aznar's domestically unpopular support of the Iraq war.

But they might also rally around a government seen as strong on security.

-- Reuters
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 01:39 am
Spain arrests 5 over Madrid bombings
By Europe correspondent Philip Williams

There has been a major breakthrough in the investigation into Thursday's train bombings in Madrid, with Spanish authorities arresting five people.

Interior Minister Angel Acebes made the announcement just as street protests accuse his Government of a cover-up.

He says three Moroccans and two Spaniards, of Indian origin, have taken into custody.

"This is a very good line of inquiry," he said. "Things are advancing in the right direction."

The arrests came after the discovery of a mobile phone and credit card in a satchel containing a bomb that did not explode.

Mr Acebes also says a witness has reported seeing three men with scarves, or balaclavas, hiding their faces near one of the train stations hit by the blasts.

All of those arrested have been picked up in Madrid.

Another two people have been taken in for questioning but not held.

The Government now admits it is possible the attacks may be related to Moroccan terrorists.

But the Interior Minister, who has previously said Basque terrorists are the likely culprits, is urging people not to come to conclusions.

"We must not discount anything," he said.

Australian Defence Minister Robert Hill agrees it is still too early to say who carried out the bombings.

But he says Al Qaeda remains a key suspect.

"If this turns out to be Al Qaeda or one of the associate groups, then it is another terrible chapter of that group's international activities," he said.

"It claims its right to jihad against a whole range of different persons.

"Spain has always rated quite highly, partly because of its history, which it sees as being anti-Islamic and also of course its engagement in the war against terror."

Electorate anger

Meanwhile, a crowd of thousands of left wing and anti-war demonstrators are outside the ruling Popular Party headquarters.

The protesters are accusing the Spanish Government of deliberately manipulating the information about the devastating bomb attacks.

Jose Maria Aznar's Government had claimed armed Basque group ETA was the prime suspect.

Analysts say Mr Aznar's centre-right party, which has campaigned against ETA, would have picked up votes if it was perceived ETA carried out the attacks.

Instead, analysts believe the Government could now lose support.

It is thought many voters believe the Government's support for last year's Iraq war fuelled the anger of Islamic radicals, making Spain a target for international terrorism.
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 01:52 am
Well, anyway, the US hasn't been hit has it??? Thank JHWH for our president George Walker Bush.


(edit. come on, image link, load!!!)
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 02:11 am

Mr Acebes had been first to insist in the aftermath of the explosions that "there was not the slightest doubt" that ETA was responsible, a position from which he has been backpedalling ever since. So keen was the outgoing Popular Party government to blame ETA that the Foreign Ministry sent messages to Spanish ambassadors across the globe on Thursday urging them to "take advantage of any occasions ... to confirm the responsibility of ETA for these brutal attacks, and to dissipate any shred of doubt interested parties might want to raise".

While Mr Acebes was insisting that the government "has neither distorted nor hidden evidence", thousands of demonstrators converged upon the Popular Party's headquarters. There were similar protests in other Spanish cities. "Who was it? Liars!" the Madrid demonstrators shouted, demanding the government be less secretive about the terror attacks, before voting begins today.

Lights went on all over the darkened building, until the PP's candidate for prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, made a televised order for the demonstrators to disperse, claiming their protest violated Spain's sacred "day of reflection".

Opinion polls suggest the PP will be returned as the biggest party, but it might fall short of a majority. It would have either to rule in minority ­ an option barely conceivable with every party ranged in opposition to the government's support for George Bush over Iraq ­ or engage in much eating of words.

Independent on Sunday
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 02:40 am
Mi corazon va con los Madrileños y Españoles una ciudad y un pueblo que yo admiro muchisisimo. Les mando mi cariño.
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 03:45 am
My heart goes with the Madrilenians and Spaniards a city and a town that I admire muchisisimo. Them control my affection.

(gotta love translation programs....)
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 11:37 am
The people who are called the Romans they go the house.Very Happy
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 11:40 am
As Spaniards voted for a new Parliament, which in turn will choose a new prime minister, Thursday's terrorist attacks weighed heavily on their minds. Here are comments from some of them as they went to polling stations:


Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, of the governing Popular Party: "No matter who they are or where they come from, terrorists and fanatics ... want to subjugate Spanish society, divide it and destroy its liberties, (and) we're not going to change."


Mariano Rajoy, Aznar's hand-picked candidate for prime minister: "These elections produce a feeling of deep suffering but, with everyone looking to the future, we are going to overcome it."


Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Socialist candidate for prime minister: "This is a day to pay homage to these victims by civic, democratic and peaceful participation (in the election)."


Gaspar Llamazares, United Left candidate for prime minister:

The government "has misinformed, has manipulated information for its own political interests, and that is very serious and must to be reviewed after these elections. Spanish troops in Iraq will have to be called home."


Juan Rigola, 23, a biologist in Barcelona: "(The ruling party) has made me lose faith in politics. They ...deserve to lose and to see the Spanish people turn against them."


Mari Carmen Pinadero Martinez, a 58-year-old housewife who voted in Madrid near the Atocha station where trains were bombed: "I voted to support the government ... to help the government end terrorism."


Joaquin Leguina, 62, former president (Socialist) of Madrid's regional legislature: "Spain has never voted in such a tragic situation. There's a feeling of anguish, sadness, horror."


Begonia Abaunza, voting in Guernica, in the Basque region: "Quite honestly the sadness I feel inside nearly stopped me from voting. Politics isn't worth a single life."


Ernesto Sanchez-Gey, 48, in Barcelona: "I wasn't planning to vote, but I am here today because the Popular Party is responsible for murders here and in Iraq."

from AP, via Santa Fe - New Mexico com
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Rick d Israeli
Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 01:40 pm
According to the eight o'clock news here the Partido Popular of Aznar has lost a little bit in these elections, and the socialist party has won some per cents, but it seems that the PP has won these elections.
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 01:48 pm
I'll be interested in reading analysis of the results. I can envision people voting to support the government in a burst of solidarity even though most were against the involvement in the iraq invasion, and many of those are probably unhappy - at least - about the purported AQ retribution.

Edit, I see I mixed up my P parties..
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 02:55 pm
Rick d'Israeli wrote:
According to the eight o'clock news here the Partido Popular of Aznar has lost a little bit in these elections, and the socialist party has won some per cents, but it seems that the PP has won these elections.

newest extrapolation:

Partido popular (conservative): 36,5 percent
PSOE (socialists): 43,5 percent

turnout: 76,6 percent (+8)
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 03:04 pm
Yikes, I just found out a friend is in Madrid..
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 03:13 pm

Voting was going until nine our time - 8 o'clock news just could give "past voting polls" :wink:

43.13% vs. 37.09% for the Socialist at this time (80% votes counted)

This would mean (in seats):
PSOE (164), PP (148), CiU (10)
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Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 03:18 pm
Well that isn't good! Installation of a Socialist (terrorist) government in Spain will mean the US shall have to invade! Wink
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 14 Mar, 2004 03:24 pm
hobitbob wrote:
Well that isn't good! Installation of a Socialist (terrorist) government in Spain will mean the US shall have to invade! Wink
El PSOE gana las elecciones, con el 85% de los votos escrutados (164 escaños)

That's the momentary headline at "El Pais" .... wasn't "I'll be with you when the roses bloom again" a popular song from the previous American-Spanish war? :wink:
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