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Spain remembers historic attack on Madrid's train network

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By Robert Hackwill
Spain remembers historic attack on Madrid's train network

The Spanish people are remembering the terrible events of the 11th of March 2004, when 10 bombs exploded on four trains at three Madrid train stations, killing nearly 200 people.

Nearly 2000 others were injured in the terrorist attacks, initially thought to be the work of Basque separatists ETA, but within hours attributed to Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaeda.

At the time Spain was part of the coalition of forces fighting in Iraq, where it had sent an armed contingent. The explosions effectively ended Spain’s participation as the troops were brought home.

Ceremonies were held at Madrid’s main Atocha station, where the bombs claimed most victims, and the nearby El Retiro park, where a memorial forest of olive and cypress trees was planted after the attacks.

The government’s handling of the attack and its aftermath was fiercely criticised, and led to its removal in the election three days later, when the opposition Socialists stormed back into power on the back of a protest vote.