Mourning begins in Spain

Ten explosions ripped apart four commuter trains during rush hour in the worst terror attack in Europe since the Lockerbie airliner bombing in 1988 that killed 270.

Almost 24 hours after the blasts, around sixty victims had not been identified. A makeshift morgue has been set up in the exhibition centre in Madrid.

Meanwhile, the interior ministry published on its website a list of the names of 1,175 of the more than 1,400 people who survived with injuries. Around 370 of the injured remain hospitalized, 45 of them in a critical state and 15 in a very serious condition.

Madrid’s hotel association and two hotel chains have offered to accommodate families of the victims free of charge.

The Spanish government was quick to blame the Basque separatist group, ETA. Acting with unusual haste the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution blaming the group after diplomats said they accepted the accusation put forward by Madrid.

Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio today told French radio on Friday that “everything appears to indicate” that ETA was behind the blasts.

However, ETA has denied responsibility for the attack.

Investigatons continue and authorities have not ruled out the possibility that the attack was orchestrated by Al-Qaeda. A letter purporting to be from a group linked to Al-Qaeda was sent to a London newspaper claiming responsibility for the bombings.

Spanish authorities also found a van with detonators and an Arabic-language audiotape in Alcala de Henares, 15 miles outside Madrid. The vehicle was stolen from the city on 28 February.

Spain was a strong supporter of the US-led war on terrorism following September 11.

The possibility of Al-Qaeda involvement sent sharemarkets plummeting.

The Dow Jones index slid more than one percent, following European indices down. Share prices in Tokyo opened 1.18 percent lower on Friday and Australian shares also eased.

Meanwhile, leaders from around the world have expressed their condolences.

A nationwide rally will be held on Friday, beginning at 7pm local time which the Spanish government said would show solidarity “with the victims, with the constitution and for the defeat of terrorism”.


FOR INFORMATION CONTACT:

Department of Foreign Affairs
1300 555 135

Spanish Hotline
34 91 586 7000

Website:
www.mir.es/atentadomadrid/atentado.htm

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