Spain marks ninth anniversary of Madrid train bombings

El Pais

Politicians and citizens on Monday commemorated the ninth anniversary of the March 2004 Madrid train bombings, the biggest terrorist attack in Spain since the 1970s transition to democracy.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was one of the first to refer to the Al Qaeda-perpetrated attacks, which claimed the lives of 191 people on various trains outside the capital’s main Atocha station on March 11, 2004.

At a breakfast meeting, the Popular Party (PP) leader told prominent government figures and party members that he was committed to the “eradication of terrorism,” saying freedom, democracy and life itself have “ferocious enemies.” “They will never defeat us,” he added.

At the same event, PP secretary general María Dolores de Cospedal said that March 11, 2004 was “without any doubt […] the most difficult moment the PP ever experienced.”

A short time before, Madrid regional premier Ignacio González and the city’s mayor, Ana Botella, laid a wreath at a plaque commemorating the victims of the attack in Puerta del Sol in the city center.

The brief ceremony was also attended by Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón and Education, Culture and Sport Minister José Ignacio Wert, as well as the presidents of the Association of Terrorism Victims and the Association of 11-M Victims, Ángeles Pedraza and Ángeles Domínguez.

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