Spain marks Madrid bombings anniversary

11th March 2008, Comments 0 comments

Spain on Tuesday marked the 4th anniversary of the al-Qaeda-inspired Madrid train bombings two days after elections overshadowed by a smaller Basque attack.

11 March 2008

MADRID - Spain on Tuesday marked the 4th anniversary of the al-Qaeda-inspired Madrid train bombings two days after elections overshadowed by a smaller Basque attack.

Madrid regional Prime Minister Esperanza Aguirre and mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon deposited a wreath at a commemorative plaque on the central Puerta del Sol square.

King Juan Carlos, Queen Sofia and re-elected Socialist Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero were scheduled to attend a bigger ceremony later during the day.

The train bombings that killed 191 and injured more than 1,800 people were believed to have influenced the result of the elections held three days later, in which Zapatero ousted the conservatives after eight years in power.

Twenty-one Islamists or their collaborators have been sentenced for the bombings.

Sunday's legislative elections were also marked by bloodshed when a member of the militant Basque separatist group ETA shot dead a former Socialist councillor in the Basque town of Arrasate two days before the poll.

Thousands of people demonstrated Monday night in Arrasate against the killing, which was thought to have contributed to mobilising Socialist voters, but not to have had a major influence on the election result.

The elections gave Zapatero a clear victory but no absolute majority, leaving him dependent on the support of smaller parties.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

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