Spain recalls Madrid train bombs a decade later
MADRID (AP) — Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy joined families of victims of the Madrid train bombings Tuesday for a 10th anniversary Mass in memory of one of Europe’s deadliest terrorist attacks.
The ceremony in Madrid’s Almudena Cathedral was one of several events held around the city in homage to the 191 people killed and nearly 2,000 injured in the March 11, 2004, explosions.
Elsewhere, people laid flowers and lit candles at the train stations and sites of the bombings.
The attackers planted 10 shrapnel-filled bombs in backpacks on four commuter trains during morning rush hour. Twenty-eight people, mainly from North Africa, went on trial in 2007 and 18 were convicted of involvement.
The seven alleged ringleaders blew themselves up three weeks after the bombings as police closed in on their apartment hide-out in a Madrid suburb.
“It was so traumatic, all that happened. I think that you remember it every day,” said Maria Blanco, a 45-year-old cleaner. “I think that every time you get on a train, you remember.”
The militants who claimed responsibility for the bombings said they carried out the attacks in revenge for the Spanish government’s support for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the NATO-led fight against the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The conservative Popular Party government in power at the time repeatedly pointed to Basque separatists as prime suspects in the bombings, even after evidence of Islamic involvement emerged. The party was defeated in general elections held three days after the attacks.
Associated Press videographer Iain Sullivan in Madrid contributed to this report.