Suspected terrorists blow themselves up in Spain
MADRID, April 4: Three suspects in the Madrid railway bombings blew
themselves up as police prepared to storm their apartment, setting
off a powerful explosion that killed one special forces agent and
wounded 15 police officers, the interior minister said.
Saturday's news further shocked Spaniards, still traumatized by the
March 11 bombings that killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800.
An unexploded bomb found on Friday by a high-speed rail track added
to the country's uneasiness.
The blast in Leganes, a southwestern suburb of Madrid, blew out part
of the exterior walls on the first two floors of the brick apartment
building. After the blast, floodlights lit up the wreckage in the
exposed rooms of the building. Pieces of concrete littered the floor
and wires dangled from the ceilings.
Television footage showed smoke billowing into the dark sky behind
buildings in a built-up area, and a handful of people fleeing down
the street. In addition to the three suspected terrorists, one
special forces agent was killed and 15 police officers were wounded,
Interior Minister Angel Acebes said. The injured officers were taken
to hospitals, including Severo Ochoa Hospital in Leganes, where three
of them were listed in serious condition.
The interior ministry said the police began approaching the building
around 7pm (1700 GMT) to make the arrests when the suspects spotted
them from a window and began shooting, chanting loudly in Arabic. No
police officers were hurt by the gunfire.
"The special police agents prepared to storm the building and when
they started to execute the plan, the terrorists set off a powerful
explosion blowing themselves up," Acebes said. Police had evacuated
residents from the area, and low-flying helicopters used searchlights
to scan the buildings.
The minister said a preliminary investigation indicated that three
suspected terrorists had died, but he added the number had yet to be
confirmed because of the damage to the bodies. He added that police
believe those killed may have helped carry out the March 11 train
The news agency Europa Press reported that forensic police and fire
fighters were searching the building's swimming pool for a possible
fourth body. This could not be confirmed independently. "There are
three that could have blown themselves up, but the possibility of
more is not ruled out," Mr Acebes said at his news conference.
"Police believe some of the terrorists that could have died in the
explosion, could have been some sought by the security forces as the
alleged perpetrators of the killings of March 11," the minister
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