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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 December, 2004, 00:31 GMT
Madrid bomb commission ends probe
Train wreckage from one of the 11 March blasts in Madrid
The bombings were the worst such incident in Spain's history
The parliamentary commission probing the Madrid train bombings has ended its hearings amid bitter disagreements.

Former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and current leader Jose Luis Zapatero were among witnesses called to the commission, which lasted five months.

But many Spaniards say the hearings have failed to resolve the issue of how Islamic radicals were able to detonate bombs killing 191 people on 11 March.

The commission will now draft a final report, but no deadline has been set.

More than 30 people were called to testify, ranging from politicians such as Mr Aznar and Mr Zapatero to relatives of those who died in the attacks.

But critics have claimed the hearings simply allowed opposing political parties the chance to accuse each other of sharp practice.


The conservative government lost power in elections three days after the bombs, amid suspicions that they misled the public by claiming that Basque separatist group Eta was responsible.

In his testimony Mr Aznar said his conscience was clear, and said Mr Zapatero had attempted to make political capital out of the bombs.

The victorious socialists refused to take a conciliatory tone, with Mr Zapatero accusing Mr Aznar's administration of "massive deceit".

A recent poll indicated that Spaniards doubt the commission will establish the truth about the attacks.

"The commission has dragged out the mood of the elections, which were very bitter, and it has raised political tensions instead of helping to understand what took place," Juan Diez, a Madrid-based political analyst, told Reuters.

Pilar Manjon, the mother of a 21-year-old victim, told the commission last week that the commission had been hijacked "to play schoolyard politics".

A poll in Spanish newspaper ABC revealed that 65% of respondents shared her views.


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