Police chief 'never said ETA placed Madrid bombs'

14th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

14 July 2004, MADRID — The former head of security in Madrid told the inquiry into the 11 March massacre he never suggested the explosives used were the type normally favoured by ETA.

14 July 2004

MADRID — The former head of security in Madrid told the inquiry into the 11 March massacre he never suggested the explosives used were the type normally favoured by ETA. 

Santiago Cuadro contradicted evidence made by his then superiors last week.

Cuadro said he had merely told former police deputy director Pedro Diaz-Pintado just hours after the blasts that there were "indications" to that effect.

He added he was "sure to have spoken of dynamite" and not Titadyne, the type used in past ETA attacks.

But Diaz-Pintado said in his evidence last week that he recalled Cuadro speaking specifically of "Titadyne with a detonator cord."

It was in the early hours of March 12 that the explosive was revealed as Goma-2 Eco.

Members of the inquiry said Wednesday it was possible that a poor telephone line led to the confusion or else the great stress to which officials were subject.

The inquiry also heard from police chief inspector Luis Martin Gomez, who explained how he examined a van understood to have been used by the bombers in the town of Alcala de Henares, the small town east of Madrid from where they set off with their deadly cargo.

Gomez said he saw nothing suspicious in the vehicle, which he looked over only briefly "for two or three seconds" before it was loaded onto a crane to be transported to Madrid for further investigations.

He added he did not initially check over the front part of the van where a later search uncovered detonators and a tape containing Koranic verses.

Asked to comment on intelligence service claims that the detonators had been left clearly in view as if to call deliberate attention to them, Gomez said that was "utterly false".

The question of at what point evidence of likely involvement by Islamic extremists in the attacks emerged is a significant part of the political debate.

The ousted rightwing Popular Party (PP) government, which lost a general election three days after the blasts, initially insisted Basque extremist group ETA was behind the attacks.

But the discovery of the detonators of a kind not used by ETA and also the tape forced a belated re-think by the government.

Away from the inquiry itself, former Spanish prime minister Felipe Gonzalez said it was vital the investigation piece together the whole background to the attacks and warned that "they (extremists) could attack us again."

Gonzalez, speaking on Spanish Cadena Ser radio, also slammed the PP -- in particular leader Mariano Rajoy and former interior minister Angel Acebes -for insisting that ETA was to blame.

With heavy sarcasm, he said: "The only thing which is clear is that you were the ones who told the truth about what happened.

"The proof of that is that all those processed and detained are from ETA."

In fact, most of the 18 people currently held in connection with the March 11 massacre in which 191 people died and nearly 2,000 others were injured are

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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