Tuesday, August 16, 2005

More On The Madrid Bombings

The Counterterrorism Blog brings us Spanish authorities ignored tip:
A few days ago Spanish newspaper El Mundo reported that more than a year before the deadly March 11, 2004, train bombings, Spanish police received detailed information about the plans of a group of Islamic fundamentalists to attack Madrid. On February 12, 2003, the wife of Muhannad Almallah entered a Madrid police station and told officers that her husband was planning a car bomb attack in Madrid and that the likely targets were the towers of Plaza de Castilla, a modern and imposing structure located on one of Madrid’s busiest arteries. The woman told officers that her Madrid apartment was often visited by men who watched jihadi tapes and talked about carrying out attacks and identified many of them by name. Spanish authorities did not act.
. . . .

The story, if confirmed, proves two things:

1- Spanish authorities did not pursue Islamist terrorists aggressively enough before 3/11. The Almallah incident is just one of the many "missed opportunities" stories in the Madrid bombings, much as the current "Able Danger" embarassment.
2- While the timing of the bombings might have been masterfully planned to make Spanish voters blame the Aznar government's support of the Iraqi war for the attacks, the carnage in Madrid had little to do with Iraq. In February 2003, when Mrs. Almallah reported her husband's murderous plans for the Spanish capital, the war in Iraq had not even begun.