Madrid Bombings
March 11, 2004
Madrid Bombing Overview
March 11, 2004
• Between 0730 and 0745 local time, 10 explosive devices were detonated
in 4 trains along the C-2 commuter train line, which runs from Guadalajara
to the Madrid Atocha, Station.
• The total number of IEDs was 13 (backpacks). Ten detonated on the
trains, and the Spanish National Police EOD team detonated the remaining
three. The bombs were placed between 0700 and 0715, and were set to
explode 35 minutes after being placed on the trains. Estimates are that up
to 700 people were on each of the trains, with an average of 100 people in
each of the passenger cars.
• The first explosives, a total of three, detonated at 0739 on a commuter
train that had already arrived at the Madrid Atocha Train station, with 34
deaths. The second explosion occurred at 0742, on a commuter train that
was running 2 minutes behind schedule. This train was actually moving
into the main station, and was approximately 500 meters away from the
first. The train came to a halt near the C/ Tellez, as four bombs exploded
causing 64 deaths. The third train, with two bombs detonating at 0742,
was approximately 1000 meters from train #2, at the Pozo del Tio
Raimundo station. This was the bloodiest, with at least 67 deaths. Finally,
the fourth train was several hundred meters away at the Sta. Eugenia
station, where one bomb exploded at 0742, causing 16 deaths.
Madrid Bombing Overview
March 11, 2004
Three further explosive devices hidden in
backpacks were destroyed in policecontrolled explosions. Open sources report
that the IEDs had been planted to hit
emergency services as they arrived on the
198 Casualties and 1,247 wounded. No
reports yet of American deaths. But he says
the embassy is aware of three American
citizens who were injured. Currently, 14
foreigners are among the dead - three
Peruvians, two Hondurans, two Poles, and a
person each from France, Chile, Cuba,
Ecuador, Colombia, Morocco and GuineaBissau.
Atocha Station Attacks
Debris and the bodies of victims lie
next to a destroyed train car after a
bomb exploded in the Atocha
railway station in Madrid Thursday,
March 11, 2004, killing at least 62
Specialists disable high voltage
electronic cables on the rail track
near the wreckage of a bombed train
near Madrid's Atocha station, March
11, 2004.
El Pozo del Tio Raimundo Train
Station Attacks
 Two bombs exploded
on a Ceranías train in el
Pozo del Tio Raimundo,
a working class district in
the outskirts of Madrid.
Santa Eugenia Train Station
 One bomb exploded
on a Ceranías train at the
Santa Eugenia train
Spanish Rail Guide
Madrid has two principle
long distance railway
stations, Atocha and
Chamartín. Atocha is used
for most destinations to the
south and west of the
country, the high speed AVE
trains which travel to
Cordoba and Sevilla and
also serves as the hub of the
Cercanías local train
network. Atocha is the
largest and most used train
Spaniards Mourn the Attacks
People show their emotions as they fill a central square in
Barcelona, Spain, Thursday March 11, 2004, during a
demonstration to protest the bomb attacks that rocked three different
railway stations in Madrid killing at least 173 rush-hour commuters
and injuring hundreds more in what officials called the deadliest
attack ever by the Basque separatist group ETA.
Immediate Ramifications in Spain
Friday, March 12
• Increased police presence in
transportation hubs, tourist
attractions, and government and
diplomatic locations
• Decrease in commuter rail traffic
• Delays caused by added security
measures and/or bomb threats or
• Disruption of businesses services
due to closures
Who is to Blame? ETA?
Forensic evidence: The three devices that failed to explode
suggest that the explosives and technology match those previously
used by ETA.
Possible splinter group: Younger, less experienced ETA
supporters may have carried out the bombings independently of the
group's weakened mainstream, which has been decimated by
police operations over recent months. Comparisons might be
drawn to the Real IRA.
Increasing activity by a younger wing of ETA: Officers from the
Guardia Civil (armed police force) on 29 February arrested two
suspected ETA members in Cañaveras (Cuenca, about 94 miles
(150km) from Madrid) carrying 1,115lb (506kg) of chloratite
explosive and 66lb (30kg) of titadyne (dynamite) in a truck. Both
were young and inexperienced.
Precedent for a coordinated ETA attack on trains: 24-26
December 2003, police intercepted and deactivated two bombs that
had been placed by two young Basque terrorists on a train from
Irun to Madrid. The bomb was primed and set to detonate as the
train reached Madrid's Chamartín station. The two men on the
same day placed a device under a railway track in Zaragoza
(Aragon), which exploded and caused minor damage to a train. A
further bomb was planted at a station in Samper de Calanda, on the
line linking Zaragoza to Barcelona (Catalonia).
Who is to Blame? al-Qaeda?
Al-Qaeda Hallmark: Simultaneous, coordinated bombings to
cause mass casualties is a hallmark of al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda Plots Revealed: January 2003, Spanish Prime
Minister Jose Maria Aznar announced that Spanish police had
thwarted a “major terrorist attack after arresting 16 suspected alQaeda militants in northeastern Catalonia.
Al-Qaeda has issued numerous threats to attack Spain and
Spanish targets. Last May a group affiliated with al-Qaeda killed
41 people in a series of suicide bombings in Casablanca,
Morocco. One of the targets was a Spanish cultural centre. More
than 40 al-Qaeda suspects have been arrested in Spain since the
attacks, although many have been released for lack of evidence.
September 11th planning: At least some of the planning for the
September 11, 2001 attacks took place in Spain. Mohamed Atta,
the ringleader of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks,
made two trips to Spain - one just two months before the attacks to make final plans with al-Qaeda leaders.
Spanish Support of U.S.: Spain has been a vocal US ally in the
war on terrorism
ETA Denies Responsibility: Party leader Arnaldo Otegi said he
"refused to believe" that ETA was responsible for the apparently
coordinated bombs and blamed the “Arab Resistance.”
Cooperation Among ETA and
Radical Islamic Extremists?
• Spanish Prime Minister Jose
Maria Aznar is not ruling out
any possibilities
• Yusuf Galan, a Spanish
national who was indicted last
year on charges of
involvement with al-Qaeda,
was a former ETA member
who converted to Islam.
Supplemental Information
Statement by Colin Powell, Slide 16
Warden Message U.S. Embassy Madrid, Slide 17
Deadliest European Attacks, Slide 18 – 19
Patterns of Global Terrorism, ETA Description, Slide 20
Q & A about ETA from the Guardian News, Slides 21 – 24
ETA Chronology of Key Events 2004 – 1937, Slides 25 - 34
U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth Office Travel Advice, Slide 35
Statement by Secretary Colin L. Powell
Bombing in Madrid
The United States vehemently condemns the outrageous and appalling terrorist
attacks that took place in Madrid today. I offer deepest condolences to the
families of the victims and to the people of Spain. In my telephone call with
Foreign Minister Palacio this morning, I extended our sympathies and
complete support to the Spanish government.
The United States stands resolutely with Spain in the fight against terrorism in
all its forms and against the threat that Spain faces from the evil of ETA
terrorism. No political pretext can justify this premeditated murder of the
innocent. We will assist the Spanish government in any way we can to find
those responsible for these heinous acts and bring them to certain justice.
U.S. Embassy Madrid
Warden Message
On March 11, 2004, the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, Spain released the following Warden Message: This Warden
Message is to alert Americans that the media and police are reporting multiple explosions between 7:30 a.m. and
8:00 am, today, Thursday, March 11, 2004, at the Atocha rail terminal in central Madrid and two different Cercanías
commuter rail stations, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia, serving east and southeastern Madrid. All the stations are on the
number 2 Cercanías line, primarily a commuter line.
We have no reports yet of any Americans killed or injured. Initial media reports quoting police reports are that there
are a number of dead and hundreds of injured. The Embassy is in contact with the Spanish authorities and is
attempting to determine whether any Americans were involved. Also as of yet there has been no claim of
responsibility or determination of cause of the explosion.
We request that all Americans in Spain and especially the Madrid area contact their families to assure them of their
The Department of State continues to monitor security conditions overseas, and, as always, will promptly
disseminate information affecting the safety of Americans abroad through its consular information program. These
documents are available on the Department's Internet website at The Department of State
encourages all American citizens residing abroad to register their presence and obtain up-to-date information on
security conditions at the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.
The American Embassy in Madrid is located at Serrano, 75; telephone (34) (91) 587-2303; the American Consulate
General in Barcelona is located at Paseo Reina Elisenda 23-25; telephone (34) (93) 280-2227 and fax (34) (93) 2055206. Our Embassy website address is
Deadliest European Attacks
Timeline: 1974-2004
Deadliest European Attacks
Timeline: 1974-2004
Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA)
a.k.a. Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna
Founded in 1959 with the aim of establishing an independent homeland based on Marxist principles
in the northern Spanish Provinces of Vizcaya, Guipuzcoa, Alava, and Navarra, and the southwestern
French Departments of Labourd, Basse-Navarra, and Soule. Recent Spanish counterterrorism
initiatives are hampering the group?s operational capabilities. Spanish police arrested 123 ETA
members and accomplices in 2002; French authorities arrested dozens more. In August, a Spanish
judge placed a provisional ban on ETA?s political wing, Batasuna.
Primarily involved in bombings and assassinations of Spanish Government officials, security and
military forces, politicians, and judicial figures; in December 2002, however, ETA reiterated its
intention to target Spanish tourist areas. In 2002, ETA killed five persons, including a child, a
notable decrease from 2001?s death toll of 15, and wounded approximately 90 persons. The group
has killed more than 800 persons and injured hundreds of others since it began lethal attacks in the
early 1960s. ETA finances its activities through kidnappings, robberies, and extortion.
Location/Area of Operation
Operates primarily in the Basque autonomous regions of northern Spain and southwestern France,
but also has bombed Spanish and French interests elsewhere.
The Guardian News
Q & A About ETA
Was it ETA?
If it was, it marks a dramatic change of methods. In recent years ETA has
murdered local politicians and policemen and waged a car-bombing
campaign against the tourist towns of the Costa Blanca, but it has never
killed so indiscriminately, nor on such a huge scale. It was also believed
to be weakened after the arrests of many of its most important members
and split over its future direction. The Madrid commuter train bombs
would mark a new brutality - or the emergence of a dangerous splinter
group. A senior member of Batasuna, the banned party alleged to be
ETA's political wing, has said that the style of the attacks - simultaneous,
without prior warning and against soft, civilian targets - suggested the
work of the "Arab resistance". But, for the moment at least, ETA is being
blamed. Police intercepted and arrested two suspected ETA members at
the end of last month as they brought an 500kg bomb to Madrid,
prompting fears that the group would attempt to strike during the current
general election campaign. Spain goes to the polls on Sunday, though all
political parties have now suspended campaigning.
The Guardian News
Q & A About ETA (2)
What is ETA's cause?
It wants to establish an independent socialist Basque state straddling northern Spain
and the southern end of France's Atlantic coast. The Basques consider their culture
distinct from those of their neighbors and speak a language unlike any other in
Europe. The Basque language (called Euskara) is believed to predate the arrival of the
Indo-European languages to the continent, of which French, Spanish, German,
Icelandic, Welsh, Serbo-Croat and almost all others are the modern descendants. The
Basque region, home to large fishing ports, heavy industry and wealthy banks, has
historically been one of the richest in Spain. Euskadi Ta Askatasuma (Basque
Homeland and Freedom) was established in 1959 under the fascist Franco
dictatorship, when the Basques' language was banned, their culture suppressed and
intellectuals imprisoned and tortured for their political and cultural beliefs. ETA's
most spectacular success was the assassination of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco in
1973. He was Franco's most likely successor and his death may have hastened the end
of Spanish fascism when Franco died two years later. In the post-Franco democratic
settlement an autonomous region was set up in three out of the four provinces
separatists consider Basque (Alava, Vizcaya and Guipuzcoa, but not Navarra), with its
own parliament, police force, control over education and tax-raising powers. But that
was not enough for ETA.
The Guardian News
Q & A About ETA (3)
What do they do?
ETA is best known for car bombs and sniping. Its victims have included politicians,
journalists, businessmen, soldiers, judges, policemen and academics. It also targets tourists,
announcing in 2001 that visitors to Spain were "legitimate targets" in an attempt to destroy
an industry that accounts for 5.5% of the country's economy. The group also engages in
kidnapping and extortion and has threatened foreign-owned businesses in Spain.
How does the Spanish government deal with ETA?
It lists it as a terrorist group (as do the EU and US, which have frozen its assets) and refuses
to talk to ETA until its leaders renounce violence. Recent Spanish governments have taken a
consistently hard line against the group. The immediate post-Franco administration
(composed largely of former Francoists) continued with many of the old methods until Felipe
Gonzalez's socialists superseded them. Though Gonzalez has denied under oath that he
authorized it, the anti-terrorist group Gal was set up in the early years of his administration to
fight a dirty war against ETA. Gal carried out assassinations of known ETA members (and
several who were not), kidnappings, bombings and torture. In total, Gal agents, many of who
were mercenaries, killed 27 people in the 1980s. With the election of the centre right Partido
Popular in 1996, the new prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, set out on a mission to destroy
ETA that has included introducing the anti-terror laws used to ban Batasuna.
The Guardian News
Q & A About ETA (4)
Why was Batasuna banned?
It is the only political party in Spain that refuses to condemn ETA's deadly attacks. In
its 34-year campaign for an independent Basque state, ETA has claimed
responsibility for the deaths of more than 800 people. A 23-point government case
against the party also alleged that many Batasuna members were also members of
Does ETA have links elsewhere?
It operates largely out of France (though France is extraditing an increasing number
of suspected ETA members for trial in Spain). Its members have also received
training in the past in Libya, Lebanon, and Nicaragua. There is a widespread view
among American analysts that the group is part of a web of Marxist militant
organizations that includes the Colombian FARC guerrillas. Similarities between
ETA operations and those of the Provisional IRA suggest that the two groups have
swapped information, techniques and - according to some reports - arms and
explosives. There are also links between Batasuna and Sinn Fein. Gerry Adams, the
Sinn Fein president, has visited the area many times to meet the leaders of Batasuna.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
10 March 2004: The National High Court has sentenced Asier Ormazabal to 50 years'
imprisonment for taking part in the attack committed by ETA in 1995 on the premises of the
DNI [identity card offices] in Bilbao [in Basque Country], in which one National Police
officer died and another was seriously injured.
29 February 2004 - 2 ETA suspects were arrested driving towards Madrid in a van with more
than 500 kilograms of explosives. Events may be linked to the Spanish general elections on
14 March.
18 February 2004: ETA's announcement that it is suspending its attacks in Catalonia has put
on a state of "maximum alert" the antiterrorist services, which are convinced that the truce in
Catalonia "will surely be confirmed" with "an attack, or at least an attempted attack"
elsewhere in Spain before the elections on 14 March.
11 February 2004: Juan Trecet, a former ETA member sentenced at the beginning of the
1980s for attempted murder, attacking a member of the security forces, causing serious
damage and other offences, was sentenced yesterday to eight years' imprisonment for having
bought electronic components for the terrorist group in March 2000, with which circuits were
built that it then used in explosive devices.
3 February 2004: The main foreign tour operators that include Spain as a holiday destination
yesterday expressed their "absolute calm" over the threats they have received from ETA. They
were reacting to the statements by Interior Minister Angel Acebes on Tuesday [3 February
2004] reporting the new extortion campaign the terrorist group has begun against the tourism
sector, similar to the one it conducted in January and February last year.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
• 24 December 2003 - Two suspected members of ETA arrested in the Guipuzcoa [province in
Basque Country] town of Hernani in a car filled with explosives. It was suspected that the
explosives were going to be used to carry out an attack in Madrid.
• 9 December 2003: Police recapture suspected ETA logistics chief Ibon Fernandez Iradi in the
French town of Mont-de-Marsan.
• 6 December 2003 - Molotov cocktail thrown at the home of a socialist councilor in Azpeitia
(Guipuzcoa Province, Basque Country) causing slight damage.
• 20 November 2003: Spanish police arrest 12 suspected ETA leaders in a series of raids. One of the
suspects, Eneko Aguirresarobe, is believed to be a participant in five attacks in May, June and July,"
an Interior Ministry spokesman said. The attacks, some of which were thwarted by police, included
a car bomb outside the offices of power giant Iberdrola, a bomb in a restaurant and a car bomb in
Santander airport.
• 18 October 2003 – An army barracks in the village of Aizoain, near Pamplona, in Navarre (part
Basque-speaking region of northern Spain) hit by a grenade. The device did not explode.
• 12 October 2003 - 12 HGVs were destroyed in the early hours of the morning in an Irun frontier
lorry park when two bombs exploded. No one was injured. The incident was associated with ETA's
on-going "revolutionary tax" (extortion) payment campaign aimed at local business interests.
• 15 August 2003 - Police Detonate Suitcase-Bomb in Northern Spain. This is first time the
terrorist band ETA has planted a bomb in the La Bureba area of Burgos Province, which is 40 km
north of the capital and 50 km away from the Basque Country.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
• 13 July 2003: Following a telephoned
warning, the authorities deactivated a bomb,
which had been placed in a hotel in Pamplona.
The bomb, as with that in a hotel in Bilbao on
23 June 2003, was thought to be part of ETA’s
campaign of extortion against hotel owners.
• 30 May 2003: A car bomb explosion has
killed two policemen and injured at least two
other people in a town in northern Spain. The
explosion occurred around 1225 (1025 GMT)
in a square in the town of Sanguesa in Navarra
province, the capital of which is Pamplona.
• May 2003: The United States declares
Batasuna a terrorist group. The European
Union follows suit a month later.
• March 2003: Spain's Supreme Court bans
Batasuna permanently in response to a
government request. It is the first time since
Franco died in 1975 that a political party has
been banned in Spain.
Car Bomb in Sanguesa
Source: Associated Press
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
February 2003: The Spanish Government shuts down Basque newspaper Euskaldunon Egunkaria on
the grounds that it is linked to ETA - but a new Basque newspaper, Egunero, hits the stands the next
day, under the headline "Shut but not silenced".
December 2002: Suspected ETA logistics chief Ibon Fernandez Iradi escapes from police custody in
southern France only three days after being captured near the Spanish border.
September 2002: French police arrest a man and woman suspected of being top leaders of ETA
following a joint operation with Spanish police. The man, Juan Antonio Olarra Guribi, is believed to
be the group's military head.
August 2002: Judge Garzon suspends Batasuna for three years on the grounds that it is part of ETA,
which he declares "guilty of crimes against humanity". Parliament, meanwhile, votes to seek an
indefinite ban on Batasuna.
July 2002: Judge Baltasar Garzon orders the seizure of 18m euros in assets belonging to Batasuna.
December 2001: The European Union declares ETA a terrorist organization - the first time all 15
member governments have labeled ETA as such, in a significant diplomatic victory for the Spanish
November 2001: Judge Jose Maria Lidon is shot dead in Bilbao less than 24 hours after a car bomb
injures nearly 100 in Madrid. Lidon - who was not on any known Eta hitlist - had sentenced six Eta
sympathizers to long jail terms in 1987.
May 2001: Senior Popular Party member Manuel Jimenez Abad is shot dead in the city of Zaragoza
a week before elections to the Basque parliament.
March 2001: Socialist party politician Froilan Elexpe is shot dead in an apparent Eta attack near the
city of San Sebastian.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
27 July 2003 - A car bomb
exploded in the car park of the
airport at Santander in northern
Spain. Prior to the bombing, a
warning was received and the area
safely evacuated. This incident
followed two explosions on 22 July
2003, in resorts on the Costa
Blanca; the first inside the Hotel
Bahia in Alicante and the second
inside the Hotel Nadal in Benidorm.
Although warnings were given and
the hotels evacuated, both bombs
exploded prematurely causing
injuries to some police officers and
those being evacuated including, in
Alicante, one British woman.
Source: BBC News
Santander Airport
Source: BBC News
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
Patterns of Global Terrorism, U.S. Department of State, 2000
Spain was wracked by domestic terrorism in 2000. After abandoning its cease-fire in late
1999, the terrorist group Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) began a countrywide
bombing and assassination campaign, killing 23 and wounding scores more by year's
end. ETA traditionally targets police, military personnel, and politicians, as well as
journalists and businessmen. As 2000 progressed, however, the group appeared to
become increasingly indiscriminate in its attacks, targeting, for example,
intersections and shopping areas. The public responded with huge demonstrations in
major cities, demanding an end to the violence. Also in 2000, the Spanish and French
Basque youth groups united and continued their campaign of street violence and arson.
Spanish authorities diligently prosecuted ETA members on terrorism and criminal
charges, and the Aznar government reiterated its determination to eliminate terrorism
and not negotiate over independence for the constitutionally autonomous Basque
provinces. After difficult discussions over the role of moderate Basques represented by
the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), the governing and opposition Socialist parties
signed a common anti-ETA pact at year's end.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
November 2000: King Juan Carlos strongly
condemns ETA in a speech on the 25th anniversary of
his accession to the throne. The king's unusually
political address comes two days after a former
government minister is killed in Barcelona.
30 October 2000: Spanish police officers inspect the
remains of a passenger bus set ablaze after a car
bomb, blamed on the ETA, exploded near Madrid on
30 October. The attack killed three persons, including
a Spanish Supreme Court judge, injured more than 60
others, and destroyed dozens of cars.
August 2000: Thousands of people demonstrate in
support of ETA in the city of Bilbao after four
members of the group die in a blast caused by
explosives in a car they are driving.
May 2000: King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia lead
thousands of Spaniards in a nationwide silent vigil to
protest against the killing of journalist Jose Luis de la
Calle. It is the first time the king has made such a
gesture, a royal spokesman says.
Passenger Bus Set Ablaze
Source: Patterns of Global Terrorism
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
Spring 2000: The Spanish film Yoyes, a fictional film based on the story of real-life ETA operative
Dolores Gonzalez Catarian, breaks the long-standing taboo in Spanish cinema against dealing with
the separatist movement.
January and February 2000: Car bombs explode in Madrid and the Basque capital Vitoria
heralding a return to the violent separatist campaign.
November 1999:The separatist group announces an end to its 14-month ceasefire in a Basque
newspaper, blaming lack of progress in talks with the Spanish Government.
August 1999: Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar accuses ETA of being "scared of peace" and calls on
the group to prove its commitment. ETA subsequently confirms that contact with Madrid has been
May 1999: The first and only meeting to date between ETA and the Spanish Government in Zurich,
September 1998: ETA announces its first indefinite ceasefire since its campaign of violence began,
effective from 18 September.
June 1998: Car bomb kills Popular Party councillor Manuel Zamarreno.
April 1998 Northern Ireland peace agreement signed. ETA is understood to have been heavily
influenced by the Northern Ireland peace process. ETA has traditionally had relations with the Irish
republicans and the political wing Herri Batasuna has been schooled by Sinn Fein on strategy for
March 1998: Spain's main political parties engage in talks to end violence in the Basque region. The
government is not involved.
February 1998: Herri Batasuna elects new provisional leadership.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
December 1997: 23 leaders of Herri Batasuna jailed for seven years for collaborating with ETA.
The case centers on an video featuring armed and masked ETA guerrillas, which the party tried to
show during general election campaign. This was the first time any members of the party have
been jailed for co-operating with ETA.
July 1997: Eta kidnaps and kills Basque councillor Miguel Angel Blanco, sparking national
outrage and bringing an estimated six million Spaniards onto the streets.
1997: Start of Eta's campaign against local Popular Party politicians.
March 1996: Right-wing Popular Party wins general election. There is speculation that the change
of government would lead to a crackdown against Eta, which later proves wrong. But Eta
apparently views the Popular Party as heir to General Franco's dictatorship.
1995: Attempt to assassinate the leader of the opposition Popular Party (later Prime Minister), Jose
Maria Aznar, with a car bomb.
June 1987: Twenty-one shoppers are killed in an attack on a Barcelona supermarket. Eta
apologises for the "mistake".
1980: 118 people are killed in Eta's bloodiest year so far.
1978: Eta's political wing Herri Batasuna is founded.
December 1973: Basque nationalists assassinate Prime Minister Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco in
Madrid in retaliation for the government's execution of Basque militants.
ETA Chronology
Key Events, 2004-1937
1968: ETA kills its first victim, Meliton
Manzanas, a secret police chief in San
1961: ETA's violent campaign begins with an
attempt to derail a train transporting
1959: ETA is founded with the aim of creating
an independent homeland in Spain's Basque
region. The full name of the organisation Euzkadi Ta Askatasuna - means Basque
fatherland and freedom.
1937: General Franco occupies Basque
country. The Basques had enjoyed a degree of
autonomy which they now were denied.
Franco regime ruthlessly represses their
aspirations for independence.
Meliton Manzanas
U.K. Foreign & Commonwealth
Office Travel Advice
More than 140 people are reported to have been killed and many injured in co-ordinated
explosions on three rush hour trains in Madrid early on 11 March. Transport is widely disrupted in
Madrid. Further details will be made available when known. Please continue to monitor our Travel
You should be alert to the activities of the Basque terrorist group ETA who recently renewed their
threat to attack the Spanish tourist industry in 2004. There is a general threat in Spain to
Western, including British, targets from terrorism. You should also be alert to the existence of
street crime. You should therefore remain vigilant in public places, including tourist sites. But the
vast majority of visits to Spain are trouble-free.
The ETA threat against the tourist industry was renewed this year when tour operators in Spain and foreign
companies that include Spain in their holiday offers received a letter stating that tourist facilities would
continue to be ETA targets during 2004. Specific warnings have usually been given ahead of each attack. In
recent attacks, there have not been mass casualties. But given this active campaign and the millions of
tourists who visit Spain each year, and although the security forces have had considerable success in
arresting ETA terrorist groups, there is a chance that visitors will be caught up in further attacks in tourist
areas. Warnings may not always be given or a bomb could explode prematurely. However, ETA announced a
ceasefire that applies only within Catalunya on 18 February.
As well as tourist targets (see below for examples of past attacks), ETA also continues to attack other
targets eg Spanish politicians, members of the security forces, judges and journalists. When bombs have
been used to target specific individuals, warnings have not been given. In April 2003, one of ETA's internal
bulletins included multinational companies with operations in Spain in a long list of possible economic
targets. Incidents of street violence in the Basque country, involving youths sympathetic to ETA, and directed
against the security forces, political parties and banks have dropped to all time historical lows over the last
year or so. These incidents usually happen late at night, more often than not at weekends, and take the
form of petrol bomb or similar home made explosive devices against the homes or offices of local politicians,
security force buildings and cash dispensers.

ETA Bombing March 11, 2004