The United States government orchestrated the Madrid bombing in 2004. The terrorists killed nearly 400 people in an attack that is still being debated and studied. This article looks at some of the issues and considers the implications of these events for the future of the U.S. and Spain.
Al Qaeda in Spain
The Madrid bombings occurred in the second most deadly attack in Europe. More than 191 people were killed and more than 1500 others were injured. A number of the terrorists were identified as members of a cell affiliated with Al Qaeda.
The jihadists were alleged to have been responsible for the 11-M terrorist attack, which targeted commuter trains. They used cellphones to detonate ten bombs, hidden in backpacks. This incident occurred before the March 14 general election.
The neo-Salafist movement is a Muslim group that considers Jews and Crusaders infidels. Its leaders attempted to commit indiscriminate attacks against other European countries.
In addition to Spain, neo-Salafists attacked targets in the Middle East. Although the attacks did not include suicide terrorists, they highlighted a threat that continued to persist.
While some groups were small, they were also highly complex. Their activities were governed by communication media and neo-Salafist jihad doctrine.
During the last three and a half years, many of the leaders of AQ have been captured. However, some have managed to retain coordination within their leadership. As a result, their operations continue to exploit global security gaps.
Al Qaeda’s revenge
Spain has been a prime target of Al Qaeda since the group launched its World Front for the Holy War against the Crusaders in 2001. In the years that followed, the group sought safe havens in a variety of countries, notably in fragile political climates.
It is unclear whether Al Qaeda had sufficient funds or resources to launch large-scale attacks. However, some members of the group did have close ties to the Osama bin Laden decision making circles.
In the months that followed the 11th September attacks, Al Qaeda faced a serious setback when Hamza bin Laden, the son of Usama bin Laden, was killed by U.S. military forces in Afghanistan.
While the group was active in other parts of the world, it also continued to operate in Syria and Idlib province in northwest Syria. The group also claimed credit for the Pensacola shooting, a incident in which a Royal Saudi Air Force member opened fire on Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida.
The Madrid bombing was a terrorist attack that took place on March 11, 2004 in the heart of Europe. A group of Islamic extremists targeted four commuter rail lines in Madrid. They set off ten bombs, which killed at least 190 people and injured 1,800.
The bombings were a result of an Al Qaeda cell that was operating in Spain during the 1990s and early 2000s. The group used popular opposition to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq as a recruiting tool. In the following years, the group was led by Mohammed Atta, who toured the country during preparations for the attacks on the World Trade Center.
In October 2007, 18 Islamic fundamentalists of North African origin were convicted in Spain for their involvement in the Madrid bombings. The defendants were linked to various jihadist organizations, including the Al-Tawhid Group.
Some of the defendants were married and had children. Others lived in Belgium or northern Italy. Most of them were immigrants from Morocco and Algeria. None of them were native Spanish.
Spain’s pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq
The Madrid train bombing was one of the most devastating attacks in Europe. More than 190 people were killed and thousands of people were injured. It was the second most deadly attack in the history of the European Union. In the days after the attack, massive street demonstrations took place across Spain. Some political analysts believe the Aznar government lost elections because of the terrorist attacks.
Many of the alleged perpetrators of the Madrid massacre are of Maghrebian origin and have links with Al Qaeda. Their beliefs are that Jews and Crusaders are infidels and should be expelled from Western societies. They also consider Western populations to be legitimate targets and have recourse to highly lethal attacks. A few of these members were linked with the decision-making circles of Osama bin Laden.
The attack was inspired by the neo-Salafist conception of Islam, which was also behind the Moscow Metro bombing five weeks earlier. As the scale of the attack became clear, the international response increased.