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On March 11, 2004, 191 people are killed and nearly 2,000 are injured when terrorists detonate 10 bombs on four trains in three Madrid-area train stations. Investigators believe that all of the blasts were caused by improvised explosive devices that were packed in backpacks and brought aboard the trains.
The terrorists seem to have targeted Madrid's Atocha Station, at or near which seven of the bombs were detonated. The other bombs were detonated aboard trains near the El Poso del Tio Raimundo and Santa Eugenia stations, most likely because of delays. Three other bombs did not detonate as planned and were later found intact. Many people saw the attacks as retaliation for Spain's participation in the war in Iraq, where about 1,400 Spanish soldiers were stationed at the time. The attacks took place two days before a major Spanish election, in which anti-war Socialists swept to power. A second train bombing was attempted on April 2nd, but was unsuccessful. The next day, Spanish police linked the occupants of an apartment in Leganes, south of Madrid, to the attacks. In the ensuing raid, seven suspects and one Spanish Special Forces agent were killed. In all, 29 people were arrested in connection with the bombings and after a five-month-long trial in 2007, 21 people were convicted, although five of them, including Rabei Osman, the alleged ringleader, were later acquitted.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Murder & Mayhem 52 Crimes that Shocked Early California 1849-1949. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following link: