Madrid Unveils Memorial On Atocha Bombing Anniversary

On the 20th anniversary of the Atocha bombings, Madrid´s regional premier, Isabel Diaz Ayuso and Mayor, Jose Luis Martínez -Almeida joined other political and civic leaders in paying homage to the victims of the worst terrorist attack in Spanish history.

The leaders enveiled a plaque which holds the names of the 193 people killed when bombs planted on 4 packed commuter trains exploded as they entered the station during the peak rush hour on the morning of 11 March 2004.

The plaque is situated in the main entrance hall between the mainline and metro stations.

In addition King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia will preside over an official European Union ceremony today at the Royal Collections Gallery, later today to mark the atrocity. The EU has made the 11th March the official European Day of Remembrance “for the victims of terrorism”.
Known as 11M — Spanish shorthand for March 11 had profound political consequences.
The took place just days before the general election that the then ruling right-wing Popular Party (PP) of premier Jose Maria Aznar was expected to win over the opposition Socialists led by Jose Luis Zapatero.

A year earlier, Aznar’s government had decided to join the US-led invasion of Iraq, despite widespread public opposition. And in the following months, Bin Laden had threatened revenge attacks on countries supporting the invasion.

Even so, within hours of the Madrid attacks, Aznar’s government publicly blamed the Basque terrorist group ETA, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.

But the ETA hypothesis was soon debunked as investigators traced the perpetrators, largely through three bombs which failed to explode that were found in rucksacks and sports bags.

Jose Luis Zapatero´s Socialists went on to win the election.



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