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Aznar: 'Nothing Ruled Out' in Spain's Investigation of Bombings - 2004-03-12


Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar says Spain will investigate every possibility in its hunt for those who carried out Thursday's deadly coordinated bomb attacks in Madrid.

Mr. Aznar told reporters today (Friday) that no line of investigation will be ruled out, and he pledged that Spain will make public all information it gathers about the bombings. The list of casualties from the rush-hour attacks is still rising -- at least 198 people from 11 countries, including Spain, are dead.

Spain came to a halt at noon today (11 hours, Universal Time) in a national moment of silence for the victims of the railway bombings, and some leaders from all over Europe traveled to Madrid to join a huge throng of Spaniards gathering for an anti-terror rally in the capital.

Three days of mourning are in effect, and the final days of campaigning for national elections have been suspended, but the government says voting will take place on Sunday as scheduled.

Mr. Aznar's firm statements about the hunt for the bombers contrasted with official uncertainty about who carried out the attacks. A letter attributed to a group affiliated with the al-Qaida terror network -- the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades -- claimed responsibility for the blasts, but the document's authenticity has not been established.

Spanish officials are also investigating the Basque separatist group ETA, which has carried out many bombings in the past, but none on the scale of Thursday's attacks.

Information for this report is provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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