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Bomb squad ‘never said ETA planted explosives’

7 July 2004

MADRID – The head of the Tedax bomb squad told the inquiry into the 11 March terrorist attacks Wednesday that he never suggested the explosives used were the same type that Basque separatist movement ETA usually used.

Sánchez Manzano told the hearing that on the day of the attacks, no member of his team told former interior minister Angel Acebes that Titadine had been used by the bombers. 

But Acebes stated throughout the day that ETA was behind the attacks.

The inquiry is attempting to find out if the then Popular Party (PP) government attempted to mislead the public in an effort to prevent a backlash against it at the general elections three days later on 14 March.

Manzano claimed the first tests carried out showed that the explosives were dynamite, but they could not tell if it was Goma 2 or Titadine.

Later, tests showed the Islamic terrorists had used Goma 2.

Manzano said that “someone above me” either by “mistake or through ignorance” had said Titadine had been used.

He said he did not know who had made this mistake on 11 March by telling the deputy-director of police, Jesús Díaz-Pintado, that Titadine had been employed.

The PP claims that Acebes told the public ETA had carried out the bombings because he had been told by Díaz Pintado that the explosives were comprised of the type of dynamite used by ETA.

An Interior Ministry document shown to the inquiry about a meeting which took place at 12pm on 11 March and attended by the minister and heads of security, said ETA were thought to be the authors of the attack “because the bomb squad said the dynamite was of the same kind used by ETA”. 

Manzano said at 5pm on 11 March there were “more well-founded” indications that the explosives found in the truck in the suburb of Alcala de Henares, where the bombs were loaded onto the trains, were Goma 2 ECO.

By the next morning, it was confirmed this was the same type used to blow up the four commuter trains, resulting in the death of 192 people.

Manzano said after an explosion it was impossible to know by the smell what type of explosive had been used.

The bomb squad can only determine immediately what type of explosive has been employed if a bomb fails to go off.

Later on Wednesday, the inquiry heard from Mariano Rayon, head of the police Central Information Unit, an intelligence unit.

He said it was “not true” that there would not have been a warning about Islamic terrorists operating in Spain before 11 March.

But he added that no-one from his unit had advised the government that there could be an al-Qaeda attack.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news