Police in Spain’s Basque region are following fresh leads in the hunt for those responsible for the Madrid Airport bombing. Significant amounts of bomb-making material have been found during searches at four addresses in the area. The operation is being linked to the arrests of two men near Bayonne in southern France yesterday. Both were detained following a joint early morning raid by Spanish and French police in the town of Ascain. It is alleged they belong to a branch of ETA, along with at least two others who remain at large.
The arrests come hot on the heels of a statement from ETA in which it claimed responsibility for planting the bomb on December 30. The group went on to say it had not intended to physically harm anyone and claimed the ceasefire remained intact. Newly-released fire brigade footage taken minutes after the blast at Barajas reveals the extent of the devastation. The two Ecuadorian men who died were asleep in their car when the device went off in a multi-storey car park at Terminal 4.
The political crisis provoked by the attack is continuing. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has cancelled a scheduled visit to Japan next week. Officials said events in Spain meant Zapatero needed to remain in Madrid.