The specter of ETA's involvement in the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombings was resurrected once more last week, when state broadcaster TVE's Parlamento politics program linked the Basque terrorist organization to the infamous terrorist attack, which was carried out by Al Qaeda-inspired terrorists.
The program's report on a recent congressional tribute to terrorism victims stated that it had been more than three years since ETA had committed a violent act, before adding: "...although acts such as the Hípercor [ETA supermarket bombing] and March 11 remain etched in our memories." These words were narrated over images of the bombed trains at Madrid's Atocha station.
Parlamento has apologized for the "ambiguity of this unfortunate phrase." Its director denied "any intention to attribute the March 11 attack to ETA."
'Parlamento' has apologized for the "ambiguity of this unfortunate phrase."
After bombs exploded in several railway stations on March 11, 2004, killing 191 people, the Popular Party government of then-Prime Minister José María Aznar stuck to the line that the attack had been the work of ETA. Although a court found the criminal act the work of radical Islamic terrorists, many from Spain's right wing still believe that ETA had a hand in the attack.
Despite the program's apparent attempt to link the Hípercor bombing and March 11, the chart that accompanied the report stated that in total, 829 deaths can be attributed to ETA and 230 to international Islamist terrorism. This implies that the program's producers were indeed including the March 11 train attacks in the latter category.