say at least 173 people have been killed and hundreds more wounded
in several near-simultaneous explosions on commuter trains in
Authorities say there were 13 blasts at or near three train
stations including the main Atocha terminal, in the southern
part of the city. The blasts occurred early Thursday, during
the morning rush hour.
There has been no claim of responsibility, but Spanish Interior
Minister Angel Acebes told reporters he has no doubt the Basque
separatist group ETA was responsible for the blasts that came
just days ahead of Sunday's general elections. The leader of
the outlawed Basque political party Batasuna, Arnold Otegi,
has denied ETA carried out the attack, suggesting "Arab resistance" is
responsible for the bombings. The Batasuna leader told Basque
radio, ETA always calls in a warning before it attacks. Spanish
authorities insist Batasuna is linked to ETA.
Earlier, some reports had sought to link the terrorism to
Spain's strong cooperation with the United States in Iraq.
Meanwhile, all campaigning for Spain's election has been
called off, and Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has declared
three days of mourning for the victims.
If ETA is responsible for Thursday's attack it would be the
deadliest ever carried out by the group. In 1987, an ETA bombing
of a supermarket in Barcelona killed 21 people.
More than 800 people have been killed in ETA's 35-year armed
campaign for an independent Basque state in northern Spain
and southern France.
The Spanish government refuses to negotiate with ETA, which
both the United States and the European Union have branded
a terrorist group.