Friday, April 02, 2004

Police Find Bomb on High-Speed Rail Line in Spain

Perhaps the Spanish were a little premature in assuming they had the suspects for the March 11 bombing in hand? Even if all those arrested so far really were involved, this latest find argues strongly for a far more extensive terrorist network than Spain's security and intelligence services seem to have reckoned with.

MADRID, April 2 -- Spanish police found a bomb Friday under the track of a high-speed train that links Madrid and Seville, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said.

A railway employee alerted police after discovering a suspicious looking package about 35 miles southwest of Madrid, Acebes said at a news conference. The package contained 22-to-24 pounds of explosives, which were connected to a detonator with a 450-foot cable, Acebes said.

The minister said it was not yet known who had placed the bomb. He said early analysis suggested the explosives were similar to those used March 11 to blow up commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191 people and injuring 1,800.

A railway employee alerted police after discovering a suspicious looking package about 35 miles southwest of Madrid, Acebes said at a news conference. The package contained 22-to-24 pounds of explosives, which were connected to a detonator with a 450-foot cable, Acebes said

According to Acebes, the bomb's mechanism was not complete, which led police to believe whomever placed it was surprised by someone and left quickly.

Again, are we really sure that only Islamists were involved with the March 11 attacks? Once more we see (here in the presence of a 450-foot denotator cable) a concern for personal survival that is uncharacteristic of would-be shaheedeen. What is more, this planned outrage flies in the face of the announcements by a supposed al-Qaeda representative that Spain would henceforth enjoy a "truce", just as long as the PSOE held to its promise to pull out of Iraq. Perhaps we really shouldn't be taken all these self-proclaimed spokesmen quite so seriously from here on out? But if that's to be the case, one also has to wonder why Islamist claims of responsibility have been deemed credible enough by many on the left to condemn Aznar for "dragging" Spain into the sights of al-Qaeda.

One more thing to consider: on the assumption that this latest intended outrage was also the handiwork of Islamic terrorists, doesn't this fly in the face of those who argued that Spain would be safe from further outrages once its new leader announced his intention to pull out from Iraq? I said on the day of Zapatero's election victory that the Spaniards had chosen shame and would get war nonetheless, and was virulently castigated for my words, but events seem to be bearing me out; right on the heels of the greatest terrorist outrage in Europe in years, yet another was being planned to target the very same country as the previous one. Perhaps more thoughtful individuals will now recognize the validity of my claim that Spain's electoral upset revealed that country to be the soft underbelly of Europe, and therefore an inviting target for yet more attacks.