State Funeral Held for Madrid Bombing Victims

World leaders dressed in black joined Spanish royalty and families of the 190 victims of Madrid's train bombings on Wednesday for a state funeral paying tribute to those killed in the nation's worst terrorist attack.

On a cold overcast day, King Juan Carlos (search) and the rest of the royal family shook hands with Secretary of State Colin Powell and other dignitaries as they filed into the 19th century Almudena Cathedral (search) for a midday Mass.

"We have cried, and we have cried together," the archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio Rouco Varela (search), told the congregation. Spanish clergy in purple vestments joined the archbishop at the altar.

The royal family sat up front, with the Spanish government and other politicians immediately behind. Foreign dignitaries sat on the left side of the aisle, lined with enormous stone pillars.

The organist played the Spanish national anthem as the king and his family entered the cathedral.

Before the Mass got under way, one unidentified man in the congregation screamed "Mr. Aznar, I hold you responsible for the death of my daughter."

He referred to Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, whom many Spaniards accuse of provoking the bombings by supporting the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Spaniards have suffered from Basque separatist attacks for decades, and the highest death toll was 21 in 1987.

But the March 11 rail attacks, in which Islamic extremists are the prime suspects, have dwarfed that figure. Besides the dead, more than 1,800 people were injured when 10 bombs concealed in backpacks ripped through four crowded commuter trains during the morning rush hour. The massacre is being called Spain's Sept. 11.

Dozens of police guarded the downtown cathedral, cordoned off for a radius of 500 yards. Police also stepped up security at Madrid's two airports, roads leading into the city and along the route leading motorcades to the cathedral.

Families of the victims began arriving more than an hour and a half before the ceremony. Each family was allotted 10 seats.

Temporary seating for some 800 people was set up in the courtyard that separates the cathedral from the Royal Palace in the city's old quarter.

The magnitude of the national trauma prompted the first state funeral for people outside the royal family in the history of Spain's new democracy, restored after longtime dictator Gen. Francisco Franco (search) died in 1975. The last state funeral was held in 2000 for the king's mother, Mercedes de la Merced.

The attacks were the worst to target a Western country since the suicide airliner attacks in New York and Washington in 2001, and sent shock waves through European capitals fearful that the Continent will become the next battleground for Islamic terrorists.

The deadliest terror attack since Sept. 11, 2001, was the bombing of two nightclubs in Bali, Indonesia, which was blamed on an Al Qaeda linked group and killed 202 people.

The outpouring of sympathy from around the globe is reflected in the list of VIPs attending the funeral, including Powell, French President Jacques Chirac, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Britain's Prince Charles and more than a dozen other heads of state or government.

Chirac renewed his pledge to help stamp out terrorism as he prepared to leave for Spain on Wednesday.

"Terrorism will never have any justification, because nothing can justify barbarity," Chirac said during a Cabinet meeting. His comments were relayed by government spokesman Jean-Francois Cope.

Suspicion for the train bombings has focused on an alleged Morocco-based terrorist cell believed to have links to Usama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network and on Al Qaeda itself.

Spanish police have identified five of eight people they suspect carried out the Madrid bombings, including the alleged cell leader, news reports said Wednesday.

Citing unidentified police sources, El Mundo said police had issued arrest orders for three of the five while the other two — thought to be Jamal Zougam and Abderrahim Zbakh — are already jailed on charges of mass murder.

The Periodico de Catalunya daily said Zougam's fingerprints were found in a confiscated van that was discovered just hours after the bombings near a train station outside Madrid. Detonators and a cassette tape of verses from the Quran were found in the van.

Police officials declined to comment on the reports because the investigating judge has ordered the case to be handled in complete secrecy.

Spanish authorities have arrested a total of 15 suspects in connection with the bombings — 11 Moroccans, two Indians, one Algerian and a Spaniard. Thirteen remain in custody, of whom nine have been charged and jailed pending further investigation. One Moroccan and the Algerian have been released.