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Spain Rallies Against Terrorism - 2004-03-13


Millions of Spaniards have rallied against terrorism, as Thursday's train bombings in Madrid claimed another victim.

A seven-month-old baby died Friday, bringing the toll to 199.

Police estimated Friday's crowds at a Madrid rally alone at two million people. Top officials of several European countries joined the evening anti-terrorism rally. They included Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

Millions of Spaniards took part in ceremonies in other parts of the country.

Earlier, people across Spain stopped for a moment of silence. In Washington, President Bush took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Spanish ambassador's residence. He said the United States stands firmly with Spain against terrorism.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said investigators will pursue every lead in the hunt for those responsible for the devastating loss of life. He also pledged that Spain will share all information it gathers about the bombings, which killed people from 11 countries.

Little information has come out so far, but one radio station (Cadena Ser) quoted security services Friday as saying an unexploded bomb found near one railroad station had a detonator not like those used in the past terrorist attacks by the Basque separatist movement ETA.

Initially, Spanish authorities blamed ETA for the bombings. Today (Friday), ETA again denied any responsibility. Officials also are considering a possible role by the al-Qaida terrorism network. A group affiliated with al-Qaida, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, claimed responsibility for the Madrid blasts. Al-Qaida earlier had named Spain as a target because of its strong support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

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

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