Madrid bombing probe 'showed no signs' of ETA

29th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

29 July 2004, MADRID – Spain's Interior Minister told the inquiry into the Madrid bombings Thursday all the facts had suggested Islamic terrorists carried out the attacks.

29 July 2004

MADRID – Spain's Interior Minister told the inquiry into the Madrid bombings Thursday all the facts had suggested Islamic terrorists carried out the attacks.

José Antonio Alonso added: "There is nothing that suggests ETA were the authors of the attack."

Alonso's evidence contradicted that of his predecessor Angel Acebes, who claimed the former government believed that ETA carried out the attacks until 13 March – two days after the bombings.

Acebes, who was questioned for ten hours Wednesday, refused to accept earlier evidence which suggested police believed groups linked to al-Qaeda were behind the attacks just hours after the attacks.

The inquiry is trying to establish if the then Popular Party government tried to manipulate public opinion by suggesting ETA carried out the attacks in order to prevent a backlash by voters at the general election on 14 March, three days after the bombings in which 191 people lost their lives.

Critics have suggested the PP did not want voters to think their support for the US-led invasion of Iraq had provoked the attack by Islamic terrorists.

In the event, the Socialists won a shock victory after it became apparent all the evidence pointed to an attack by Islamic terrorists, despite government claims.

Alonso later told the inquiry said investigators could not be influenced by "conjecture" but had to search for material facts.

He said the present government has been determined to be "transparent" in terms of what it could tell the public about the on-going investigation without prejudicing the inquiry.

Alonso was asked about a second car which was found near the suburban railway station in Madrid where the bombs were loaded on to the trains.

In an apparent police bungle, the second car was only found more than three months after another van which contained detonators and an audio tape containing verses of the Koran which was discovered on the day of the attacks.  

Alonso said an internal investigation was underway into why the rental car, which was later found to contain DNA traces of one of the wanted terrorists, was not discovered earlier.

He said there were 40 different operations between the National Police and the Guardia Civil related to the Madrid massacre and the fight against Islamic terrorism.

Five suspected Islamic terrorists not linked to the 11 March attacks have been detained.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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