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Zapatero, Aznar to appearbefore massacre inquiry

5 October 2004

MADRID – Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero and the former premier Jose Maria Aznar will appear before the parliament’s commission investigating the 11 March terrorist attack in Madrid in just over two weeks, officials said Tuesday.

The commission will begin sitting again from 15 October and Zapatero and Aznar are expected to give evidence from 21 October onwards.

No dates have been fixed for their long-awaited appearances.

Socialist party sources have said Zapatero testimony will attempt to shed some light on the causes behind the rail attacks.

He could also contribute to help Spain to adopt measures aimed at preventing future attacks of this type.

After a drawn-out and controversial process, Aznar was finally called by the all-party commission.

Aznar himself has always said he would appear but believed he had little to contribute after other ministers in his former government gave long and detailed evidence.

Critics have claimed that the commission lacks the investigative drive which characterised the 9/11 inquiry in the US.

They claim that it has failed to get to the bottom of what really happened and seems hampered by party-political squabbling.

The purpose of the inquiry is to examine the events surrounding the 11 March bombings.

Aznar’s government lost the general election three days following the terrorist atrocity after many voters appeared to believe the former Popular Party administration refused to blame Islamic terrorists in case it would backfire on them in the elections.

Instead, they continued to blame ETA, the Basque terrorist group, in an apparent effort to deflect attention from the fact the bombings were launched because of Spain’s support for the Iraq war.

Islamic radicals who planted ten bombs on rush-hour trains killed 191 people and injured more than 1,500 others.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news