The March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings, in which a terror cell linked to al-Qaeda killed 191 and injured more than 1,500 commuters, united all Spaniards in mourning. But the tragedy has divided the country's politicians. An all-party parliamentary commission has been investigating the attack for over a year but failed to agree on a conclusion. As a result, each of Spain's eight political groups will present its own findings next week.
All the reports except for the one prepared by the Popular Party (PP), which was in power at the time comment on the government's negligence before the attack, citing a lack of coordination between the branches of the security forces. The PP "underestimated the risk," says Diego López Garrido, a Socialist Party commission member. "There were major failures before March 11, and after the attack the government lied to the country and manipulated information." The Socialists also cite evidence of a cover-up of intelligence implicating Islamic terrorists in the three days between the bombings and the election on March 14, which ushered the Socialists into power.
In its report, the PP not only refutes criticism of its role, but accuses the Socialists of using the attack to force them out, suggesting that's exactly what the terrorists wanted. "The aim of the attack was not only to cause terror and provoke a brutal massacre, but to remove the PP from power in the elections," said Eduardo Zaplana, the PP parliamentary spokesman, quoting from the PP report. After the attack, he said, "The government kept the public informed at all times … so long as it did not directly endanger the investigation." The emotional and political wounds of 3/11 still run deep.