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Madrid Bombings, March 11 2004 - A Timeline of Events

Terrorism in Spain: Islamic Terrorist Attack in Madrid, March 2004


Madrid Bombings, March 11 2004 - A Timeline of Events
Updated June 30, 2014
On March 11, 2004, ten bombs went off virtually simultaneously in trains carrying commuters into Madrid. 190 people died in the attacks, with approximately 2,000 people wounded. Below is a timeline of events following the Madrid bombings in March 2004.
  1. The Events of March 11, 2004 in Madrid
  2. The Aftermath of the Madrid Bombings
  3. The Legacy of the Madrid Bombings

The Events of March 11, 2004 in Madrid

Betwen 7.37 a.m.and 7.39 a.m, ten bombs are detonated on trains arriving at Atocha, Madrid's main train station. Three bombs go off on a train on the platform. Two more explode on a train leaving El Pozo station, on the way to Madrid. Four bombs explode on a train just outside Atocha station. Finally, a bomb goes off on a train at Santa Eugenia station, a four stops outside of Madrid.

With 2,000 people injured, the emergency services are overwhelmed as they attempt to treat the wounded. TV footage shows ordinary citizens helping the paramedics. Passing buses turn into temporary ambulances (and hearses) transferring the wounded and the dead to the hospitals. The Parque Ferial Juan Carlos I exhibition center becomes a temporary morgue and chapel of rest.

In Puerta del Sol, the main square in Madrid , a blood donor truck (which has already been there for a number of days) is inundated with donors. The line to donate blood snakes around the square several times. A makeshift shrine to the victims appears in front of the municipal building in the square.

News spreads of the bombings. The press debates who could have perpetrated the attacks. While Al Qaeda are not ruled out, Spanish Interior Minister Ángel Acebes states that Basque terrorist organization ETA is responsible for the bombings.

As is normal when a catastrophe of this magnitude occurs, the people of Spain (and the rest of Europe) gather around their television sets for updates on the day's events. Trains leaving Madrid are suspended and Line 1 of the metro (which passes by Atocha) is closed until the afternoon.

Later that day, a van is discovered near the site of one of the bombs. Inside is a tape of the Koran. An Arabic newspaper in London prints a letter presumably signed by Al Qaeda, claiming responsibility for the attacks.

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