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Last Updated: Friday, 12 March, 2004, 13:00 GMT
World press in shock over Madrid blasts
World press graphic

Newspapers in Europe and elsewhere expressed outrage at Thursday's attack on Madrid's rail network that left nearly 200 people dead and more than 1,400 injured.

Many referred to 11 March as Spain's 11 September, and there was much speculation as to whether al-Qaeda may have had a hand in the attack.

The brutality of yesterday's attacks in Madrid is incomprehensible and is beyond pardon... This concerted attack on the Spanish capital was aimed, mainly, at destabilising a nation that has fought, with heroism and determination, for the preservation of the freedom of its citizens.

- Portugal's Diario de Noticias

We are the only nation in the Iberian Peninsula that is not part of this "state of nations" that is Spain. For centuries we lived facing opposite directions... Today we know this is the past... Yesterday, we understood, at the moment of shock, by sharing an impotent anger, how close together we stand: and how we can only grow ever closer, especially in difficult times, in times of pain, when solidarity is required.

- Portugal's Publico

A joint operation between Eta and al-Qaeda is not inconceivable... If this theory turns out to be true, what happened yesterday will in many ways be more important than 11 September. The war will have moved to Europe and involved various enemies in a single subversive operation.

- Italy's Corriere della Sera

The massive scale of the Madrid attack is more in line with what is known of al-Qaeda than with the methods of the Basque terrorists.

- France's Liberation

Terrorism appears to have become a form of expression in itself, nihilism's revenge on politics.

- Switzerland's Le Temps

This Spanish 11 March has followed the American 11 September into the annals of terrorist monstrosities.

- Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

What we are seeing in Spain is the al-Qaedisation of terror in Europe, which finds satisfaction in the greatest possible suffering, in the worst chaos.

- Germany's Die Welt

If the call for tough police state methods becomes too loud, there is a possibility that the wounds left by Spain's Francoist past, which have not quite healed, will be ripped open again.

- Austria's Der Standard

Europe will never again be the same as it was before 11 March.

- Russia's Izvestiya

Europe, which only recently was still viewing America's 11 September or the blasts in Russia as things that only happen elsewhere, has been confronted with the most heinous crime in its entire postwar history.

- Russia's Nezavisimaya Gazeta

The explosions could have been the work of another terrorist organization like al-Qaeda. Spain, as one knows, is an active member of the US-led antiterrorist coalition. Madrid actively supported Washington during the Iraq war.

- Commentary by Igor Vetrov, Russia's Moskovskaya Pravda

Did al-Qaeda want to punish Spain for its alliance with the United States and its part in the Iraq war?

- Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza

Europe is faced with greater dilemmas than America after 11 September... Europe's desire for security could easily override its attachment to civil liberties.

- Hungary's Nepszabadsag

Madrid covered in blood: the bloodiest massacre in the history of the EU.

- Macedonia's Dnevnik

Europe has witnessed 9/11 in Madrid - not in any way less bloody or less scary than the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon.

- Macedonia's Utrinski Vesnik

The bombs that exploded in Spain carry a big importance for Turkey. One of the psychological obstacles facing Turkey, which is on the threshold of the EU, was Turkey having been seen as a Middle Eastern country. A country, where Islamic militants explode bombs and corpses lie on the streets... The bombs that exploded in Madrid will clearly show that Turkey being a target is not because of being Middle Eastern.

- Commentary by Fatih Altayli, Turkey's Hurriyet

Yesterday, Spain joined the growing and expanding club of the victims of mega-terror.

- Commentary by Arik Bachar, Israel's Ma'ariv

First there was September 11. Now there is also March 11. And in between, Indonesian, Kenyan, Turkish, Russian and Iraqi citizens were butchered in mass terrorist attacks. However, Western Europe for some reason thought itself immune, protected.

- Commentary by Sever Plutzker, Israel's Yedi'ot Aharonot

Whether Thursday's terror attack in Madrid was the work of the Basque underground or of another terrorist organization, such as al-Qaeda... it is clear that the massacre at the railway station in Spain's capital was modelled after acts by al-Qaeda, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and their ilk: a massive terror attack against innocent civilians in the name of an ideology or political demand.

- Commentary by Ze'ev Schiff, Israel's Ha'aretz

Arabs and Muslims cannot commit such an act. We therefore condemn the act and hope that the Spanish government will be able to find out the truth.

- Commentary by Ahmad al-Huni, London-based Arabic paper Al-Arab al-Alamiyah

The reason why the Spanish government may have become a target of attack of the al-Qaeda organisation is most likely because its current government has always followed the US closely on the Iraq issue and it is the United States' staunchest ally besides Britain.

- China's Beijing Qingnian Bao (Beijing Youth Daily)

The horrific train bombings in Spain which killed more than 170 people and injured hundreds more... is a grim but timely reminder to Malaysians that they are living in a lucky country.

- Malaysia's The Star

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

An unreal day in stunned Spain
12 Mar 04  |  Europe
In pictures: Madrid blasts
11 Mar 04  |  In Pictures
Spain probes bomb carnage claims
11 Mar 04  |  Europe
Country profile: Spain
03 Mar 04  |  Country profiles

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