Monday, November 05, 2007

Hechos Probados....The Bombs On The Trains

On the morning of the 11th March 2004, a total of thirteen bags containing explosive devices were placed on four commuter trains travelling on the line between Alcalá de Henares and Madrid. The bombs were timed to explode simultaneously, and ten of them exploded between 7:37 and 7:40 a.m. Eight devices were placed on the first, fourth, fifth and sixth carriages of the two trains with numbers 21431 and 17305, which departed the station of Alcalá at 7:01 and 7:04 respectively. Of these, all but that placed in the first wagon on train 21431 exploded. Three detonated in Atocha Station itself where train 21431 had stopped at platform 2. The other four exploded on train 17305 at approximately 7:39 when this train was passing by the Calle de Tellez, a few hundred metres from Atocha station.

Another four bags containing devices were placed on the train with number 21435 which departed from Alcalá at 7:10 a.m. This train was composed of two tier carriages, and two devices placed in the upper part of carriages four and five exploded at 7:38 whilst the train was in the station of El Pozo. The other two bombs, placed in the lower part of carriages two and three, did not explode. One was deactivated in the station itself and the other in the early hours of the next day in the Azorin park in the Madrid district of Vallecas. The remaining device was placed by Jamal Zougam in the fourth carriage of train number 21713, which had left Alcala at 7:14. This device exploded at 7:38 when the train was at the station of Santa Eugenia.

191 people died as a consequence of the explosions, 34 in Atocha, 63 at Calle Tellez, 65 at El Pozo, 14 at Santa Eugenia, and 15 died later in different hospitals in Madrid. In addition 1857 people were injured.

At 8:40 a.m., following removal of the dead and injured, the chief inspector of the Madrid bomb disposal squad ordered the searching of the train in Atocha station. The unexploded device in the first carriage of the train was discovered and removed from the train. At approximately 10:00 a,m. an unsuccessful attempt was made to deactivate it, resulting in a controlled explosion. Shortly before this the bomb disposal team received advice of another unexploded device found at El Pozo.

The device at El Pozo was discovered by members of the municipal police who had been instructed to search the train. Noticing cables in the bag and a mobile telephone, the bag was taken onto the platform and word was passed to advise the bomb disposal team of the discovery. The bomb disposal experts arrived at approximately 9 a.m. and the device was destroyed in a controlled explosion as part of attempts to deactivate it.

Footnote: The only person directly named in the sentence as placing a bomb is Jamal Zougam, this is based on witness identification of him given during the trial. For the rest of the bombs we do not know with any certainty which individuals from the group placed them, or at which stations the bombers boarded the trains. The timing of each explosion depended on the alarm of the mobile telephone used to activate the device, so it is possible they were all set for the same time yet exploded within a time frame of more or less three minutes.

No comments: