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Bin Laden death is ‘decisive step’ in terrorism fight: Spain

The death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden is a “decisive step” in the fight against terrorism,” the Spanish government said Monday.

“The government considers the death of Osama bin Laden … to be a decisive step in the fight against international terrorism and wants to congratulate US President Barack Obama and his government and armed forces,” it said in a statement.

“The government reiterates its commitment to cooperating with the United States and other nations in the fight against terrorism wherever it is developed or carried out,” the statement added.

Spain suffered its worst-ever terror attack on March 11, 2004, when bombs exploded on packed commuter trains in a Madrid suburb, killing 191 people and wounding 1,841 others in an attack carried out by a local cell of Islamic extremists in the name of Al-Qaeda.

The early morning bombing was the deadliest terror attack in the West since the September 11 attacks in the United States in 2001 which were masterminded by Bin Laden.

Madrid regional government president Esperanza Aguirre, who was in office at the time of the train bombings and who also escaped one of hotels targeted in the November 2008 attacks by Islamic militants on Mumbai, welcomed Bin Laden’s death.

“I think it is a victory against terrorism. I don’t know if it is a big or small victory, but it is without a doubt a very important punishment against terrorism and the head of the terrorist,” she told radio Cadena Ser.

“When I was told that he was in Pakistan, in a luxurious neighbourhood with all amenities, I remembered the terrorists who killed people in Mumbai and how we escaped miraculously through the kitchen of the hotel.”

Aguirre was checking in at the Trident/Oberoi hotel in Mumbai as part of a Spanish business delegation when gun-toting militants attacked.

She has told how she threw herself under the reception counter and escaped the bloodied lobby barefoot through a back exit along with other members of the delegation.

The attacks by Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, one of the largest Islamic militant groups in the region, on a series of sites in India’s financial capital Mumbai killed 166 people.