Closed-door inquiry examines secret documents

13th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

13 July 2004, MADRID — The parliamentary inquiry probing the events surrounding the Madrid massacre met behind closed doors Tuesday to examine secret intelligence documents outlining the threat from Islamic extremists.

13 July 2004

MADRID — The parliamentary inquiry probing the events surrounding the Madrid massacre met behind closed doors Tuesday to examine secret intelligence documents outlining the threat from Islamic extremists.

Many of the 20 or so documents centred on previous assessments by the intelligence agencies before March 11 of the risk of attack by Islamic militants.

A total of 192 people were killed and more than 1,500 injured when explosions ripped through four commuter trains in the Spanish capital.

Within hours, the conservative government was blaming the Basque separatist movement ETA, but the attack was later claimed by Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda network in retaliation for Spain's military role in Iraq.

The inquiry is focusing on what happened between the moment the bombs went off and three days later, when the conservatives were voted out of office in a shock victory for the Socialists after a public backlash.

Intelligence officials were on hand to guide members of the panel through the documents, which include an assessment of bin Laden's threats against Spain in October 2003 for sending troops to join the US-led occupying coalition in Iraq.

The parliamentarians are allowed to take notes and ask questions, but not photocopy the documents. They must also not reveal what was contained in them, according to Spanish law.

Last week, a former top police officer said Madrid's security commissioner had contacted him and other officials a few hours after the blasts to say the explosive used was titadyne, a brand regularly used by ETA.

Critics claimed Aznar's government tried to manipulate the evidence to put blame on ETA rather than Muslim extremists, because of the potential damage it could do to their election prospects.

Eighteen people, most of them Moroccans, are currently held in connection with the bombings.

Seven others, believed to have been involved in the attack, committed suicide after being surrounded by police.
  
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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