Bomb expert says type of explosive not clear
29 May 2007, MADRID - A police bomb disposal expert who analyzed the residue from the explosives collected at the sites of the deadly 2004 Madrid train-bombing attacks testified in court Monday that after the blasts authorities "never could determine" with certainty what type of explosive had been used.
29 May 2007
MADRID - A police bomb disposal expert who analyzed the residue from the explosives collected at the sites of the deadly 2004 Madrid train-bombing attacks testified in court Monday that after the blasts authorities "never could determine" with certainty what type of explosive had been used.
The heat from the blasts apparently vaporized the explosives, leaving insufficient intact residue to allow experts to pinpoint the type of dynamite packed into the shrapnel-laden backpack bombs that killed 191 people on several commuter trains on March 11, 2004, a strike that became infamous as Spain's worst-ever terrorist attack.
The bomb disposal expert, who gave testimony in court along with two colleagues and eight experts who prepared the final report on the explosives used in the massacre, said that she analyzed 12 sites of interest and at 10 of them she found components of dynamite, specifically ammonium nitrate and nitroglycol.
She did not find dinitrotoluene, known as DNT, or nitroglycerine, she said, and upon being questioned by prosecutor Javier Zaragoza if the samples of the explosives preserved for analysis could have become contaminated, she said that contamination could have resulted from substances in the environment, although this testimony was contradicted by another expert.
The report provided by the experts to the court regarding the type of explosive used in the attack was inconclusive, but a majority of the experts agreed that it appeared to be Goma 2 dynamite.
The analysis of the explosive was entrusted to eight experts: four from the government (two from the Civil Guard and two from the National Police), two hired by the prosecution and two by the defense.
A total of 29 mainly Middle Eastern men are on trial for the terrorist attack of March 11, 2004, when a total of 191 people died and almost 2,000 were injured in the remote control detonation of backpack bombs placed aboard four Madrid commuter trains during morning rush hour.
The attack, carried out just days before general elections in Spain, was perpetrated by alleged Al-Qaeda-linked Islamic militants in retaliation for the presence of Spanish troops in Iraq.
On March 14, 2004, the ruling conservative Popular Party - which had sent troops to Iraq despite popular opposition to the war - was upset at the polls by the Socialists. The PP's defeat came as the government of then-Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar tried to implicate the Basque terrorist group ETA in the attacks.
The train bombings trial began Feb. 15 at the National Court in Madrid and is expected to last until approximately mid-June. EFE
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news