Spain: Bombers Not Found Among Victims

Published March 13, 2004

| Associated Press

Autopsies of people killed in the Madrid terror attacks found no evidence of those believed to be bombers, Spain's interior minister said Saturday.

Homicide attacks are a hallmark of militants linked to Al Qaeda, and the finding would lend support to government assertions that the 10 coordinated rail attacks were probably carried out by Basque separatists and not Islamic extremists.

"Of the autopsies carried out, none of them — according to the reports we have on the ones that have been carried out up to now — have given as a result that (death) was caused by a suicide bomb," minister Angel Acebes told a news conference.

Acebes said the Basque separatist group ETA was still the No. 1 suspect in Thursday's bombings, but the government has not ruled out Islamic terrorists. He said authorities have not determined where the explosives used in the attack came from.

"We are working intensely along both lines," he said. But he added, "the priority has to be the terrorist group that is most prominent in Spain."

"No official in the security forces has told me that, at the moment, they lean toward ... Al Qaeda," Acebes said.

ETA has denied staging the attacks. A leader of its political wing, Batasuna, accused the government Friday of seeking political gain by blaming the group.

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