‘Al-Qaeda’ video claims Madrid massacre
14 March 2004
MADRID – Authorities were on Monday continuing investigations into claims that Al-Qaeda was behind the Madrid atrocities.
A videotape discovered over the weekend claimed Al-Qaeda was responsible for the bomb attacks in which 201 people died.
The videotape featured a man who claimed to be Al-Qaeda’s European head of military operations ‘who said the group was behind Thursday’s bomb attacks on three railway stations in the capital.
The development came as Spain went to the polls Sunday for the first ever general election held during a period of national mourning.
The country declared three days of mourning after the Thursday attacks in which 201 were killed and more than 1,400 injured. Over 250 people are still in hospital seriously injured.
The funerals of many victims were being held Sunday across Spain.
The discovery of the videotape comes after the arrest late Saturday of five men in connection with the bomb attacks. Three Moroccans and two Spaniards of Hindu origin were detained in Madrid, authorities said.
In the videotape a man calling himself Abu Duhan al-Afgani and speaking Arabic with a Moroccan accent said the attacks were revenge for “the criminal Bush and his allies”.
The tape was discovered after an anonymous tip-off to a Madrid television station.
In the tape, al-Afgani promised more attacks.
“You want life and we want death,” he said.
But Acebes said that the authenticity of the tape had not been verified and the man was not known to the security services.
The discovery of the videotape has sparked anger among the Spanish public.
As polls opened across Spain at 9am, the turnout was expected to be high as people demonstrated that their young democracy – which has been existence only since 1978 – cannot be defeated by terrorists.
There was also anger towards the government for its support for the US-led invasion of Iraq which may have provoked an Al-Qaeda attack.
Crowds gathered outside the Madrid offices of the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) Saturday to protest against the government’s “lies”.
Mariano Rajoy, prime ministerial candidate for the PP, denounced the protests.
Prime minister Jose Maria Aznar was a strong supporter of the Iraq invasion, a move which was deeply unpopular in Spain. Eighty percent of the population was said to be against the move.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news