Aznar repeats claim Madrid bombing is unresolved
8 November 2007, Madrid - Spain's former prime minister, the conservative José María Aznar, on Wednesday reiterated the claim he first made in 2004 that the people who planned the terrorist attacks of March 11 that year "are not in remote deserts or faraway mountains."
8 November 2007
Madrid - Spain's former prime minister, the conservative José María Aznar, on Wednesday reiterated the claim he first made in 2004 that the people who planned the terrorist attacks of March 11 that year "are not in remote deserts or faraway mountains."
He also said that whoever was responsible for the killing of 191 people on packed Madrid commuter trains achieved their goal of "changing the political course of Spain," in reference to the general elections held three days after the bombings, which handed power over to the Socialist Party.
The Popular Party (PP) has since claimed the attacks helped the Socialists win the election. The PP's initial response to the bombing was to blame the Basque terrorist group ETA, despite mounting evidence that Islamists were behind it.
The Socialists said that the PP lied to Spaniards, while the center-right party in turn has supported conspiracy theories insinuating that the Islamists may not have acted alone.
The recently concluded March 11 trial discarded any ETA involvement and laid the blame squarely with Islamist terrorists inspired by Al Qaeda.
Despite Aznar's insistence, however, the end of the trial may also have marked a change of tack for the PP as it revs up for general elections next March. Asked about Aznar's statements, the head of the PP campaign said the verdict must be accepted and that "we must look ahead."
"What we need to do now is be united and work together in the fight against terrorism," said Juan Costa. "The PP's position is the position expressed by Mariano Rajoy."
Following Aznar's remarks, Justice Minister Mariano Fernández Bermejo said the best thing the former leader can do is "to shut up," while the Socialist Party has released a 15-minute video with past public statements by PP leaders regarding M-11, which can be seen on www.elpais.com.
[Copyright EL PAÍS, SL./ SUSANA URRA 2007]
Subject: Spanish news