11-M Two Years On
Staff Reporter / 2006-03-13 14:06:32
Saturday 11 March marked the second anniversary of the Madrid bombings, where a series of bombs ripped through some commuter trains in the Capital killing 192 people and injuring 1,500.
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero led tributes to the victims at the memorial garden, where 192 olive and cypress trees are planted in memory of the dead and two schoolchildren, an Algerian girl and a Spanish boy, laid a wreath to open the commemoration ceremony at noon which was then followed by a five minute silence.
The 10 co-ordinated blasts were the country's worst terrorist attack and came just three days before a general election, in which the Socialists ousted the right-wing Popular Party (PP). The government initially blamed armed Basque separatist group ETA for the attacks, an error which is widely believed to have contributed to the Popular Party's unexpected defeat.
Twenty-five people are being held in jail pending trial however in a newspaper poll published on Saturday, 66% of all those polled still have no real idea of exactly what happened. Magistrate Juan Del Olmo is expected to issue some findings next month.
Meanwhile government first vice-president María Teresa Fernández de la Vega has insisted that "practically everything is known about the 11-M attacks," despite various reports in national media which cast doubt on the widely-accepted truth that they were carried out by an Islamic terrorist cell made up of around twelve men, seven of whom blew themselves up in a flat shortly afterwards after being tracked down.
In the face of renewed speculation that ETA were in some way behind the attack, Ms De la Vega, called for "respect, rigour and seriousness" on the second anniversary of the tragedy, adding that "there has been a parliamentary commission of inquiry, there have been arrests, witnesses. This means that I believe that everything is being handled in the normal democratic way, which is why I also believe that we can rely on the judiciary and the security forces, who have been doing an exemplary job from the beginning."
185 illegal immigrants who were injured in the attack have now been granted Spanish nationality, 3,000 compensation claims are being processed and 59.5 million euros has already been paid out.