BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 12 March 2004, 02:05 GMT
Madrid train blasts: Your reaction
Victim being treated
According to latest reports 190 people have died and 1,247 have been injured after several separate explosions hit the Spanish capital's rail network.

King Juan Carlos has expressed his condolences saying, "Your King is suffering alongside you".

An Arabic tape and seven detonators have been found in a van just outside Madrid.

Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for the bombings in a letter sent to al-Quds, a London based Arabic newspaper.

Did you witness the explosions? What is your reaction to the blasts?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


Your comments:

I saw the official list of the wounded given by the Ministerio de Interior
Oscar, Badalona

In my opinion, there will never be a social, political, moral or even religious motive which justifies such butchery. In fact, the one or the ones who took part of an atrocity like this in Spain or round the world are not human beings, but monsters.
Daniella Portes, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

My heart goes out to the people of Spain. The people who caused these attacks must surely realize that killing will not bring them closer to their dreams, but further and further away from them until they are no longer visible.
C Humphreys, Palm Springs, USA

Dear friends, please accept my deepest condolences. I am sharing a pain of the victims and their families. We will stand united. It is the horrible attack of cowards that afraid to face the opponent. Who did it should know that they are not humans. Love to all Spanish people.
Levan Alpaidze, New York, USA

I am very sad to see what happened. If this does prove to be al-Qaeda, then [it is] a reminder to our friends in Europe why we are fighting this war. Al-Qaeda is not raging war on the USA but on the West.
Peter, Chicago, USA

Thank you very much for all your support, solidarity and sympathy. All of us in Spain are traumatized. We Spanish are so tired of this; we want to put an end to this. We appreciate your support, all over the world, because we are in deep pain. Ana, Oviedo, Asturias

Spain, know that the hearts of every New Yorker are with you.
Isela Chavarria, New York, USA

As a Basque myself I can't believe all the awful images I've seen all day long. Is Eta guilty or not? We still don't know. Whatever the answer is, do not mistake all Basque people for terrorists. My heart sincerely goes to all the families and the victims of this tragic event. I'll pray for them.
Delphine, Bayonne, France

I feel so dumb I can't express what I got inside, but today's attack has been aimed to cause terror and grief all over the world not to claim for a separatist cause.
Ana Fernandez, Valencia, Spain.

Thank you very much to all the people around the world who are sending us their condolences and support. This is not an attack against Madrid; it's an attack against humanity. Today, everybody, everywhere, is a citizen from Madrid. Thanks again.
Rafael de la Ossa, Madrid, Spain

Today, we are all Spanish.
Andrew, Montreal, Canada

Something clicked inside me and made me realize more powerfully than ever before that I am a European
Huw Peach, Shrewsbury

Wouldn't it be amazing to see spontaneous demonstrations of solidarity across Europe at 7:00 pm tomorrow evening? People often define themselves by what they are against. I found the massive, silent, respectful demonstrations across Spain this evening immensely powerful and moving. Something clicked inside me and made me realize more powerfully than ever before that I am a European and that my revulsion against those who did this connected me to those people more closely than the terrorists can possibly imagine.
Huw Peach, Shrewsbury, UK

Does it really matter who it was? The people who definitely matter are dead. This is the day Spain cried out all our tears.
Gabriel Guillén, Alicante, Spain

I am just disgusted. I can't express with words what my family and I feel today. My condolences to the families of the people that today said goodbye for the last time. God bless you.
Nuria, Alcalá de Henares, Madrid, Spain

In Argentina most of us belong to Spanish families, and we are shocked by these atrocity. The Government of our country decided to send troops to the 1991 Gulf War, and we had two terrorist attacks in Buenos Aires in 1992 and 1994, is there any doubt? Fortunately we don't have Eta in Argentina but we know what terrorism is, and how an national and an international purpose is achieved. Please don't be cheated.
Haydée González, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We were all worried at my University about Danny who spent a year at our school. Take care Danny.
Saffar, Xavier University, Ohio, USA

My brother is studying abroad in Spain now. We have not heard from him and we can't get in contact with him. Is there a victims report? We are scared and we just want to know what is going on.
Eileen Plaza, New York City, USA

I have not words... I can't stop crying. I can't stop thinking that terror it's not the solution. I can't believe it.
Lolo, Madrid

What's wrong with these people?
Laura Plaza, Madrid

Two of my best friends live really near from two of the stations, thanks God they are ok, but I can't forget the agony I'd suffered trying to contact them this morning. This is the third time that Vallecas has been attacked - I don't know why this zone is so attacked. What's wrong with these people? Don't they have feelings? Don't they have families to be worried about? I don't understand this world.
Laura Plaza, Madrid, Spain

I would like to send my condolences to all family's victims. I'll pray for them tonight. God bless them.
Ítalo Cavalcanti, Fortaleza, Brazil

I'm a girl from Madrid but I'm currently living in London. I still don't believe what happened in my city, it's like a nightmare. I hope my government will do something about this to stop them. Spanish people are tired, we want peace.
Eva, London

I can't believe it! All this horror! For what? When will it end?
Jonathon Tong, Madrid, Spain

This is a black day for Spain, Europe and the world. My condolences to the family and friends of the victims and to the Spanish people in general.
Sammy, Bornem, Belgium

My son, Ryan Gallagher, and his friend, Eneri Rodriguez, arrived in Madrid on Monday and are still in Madrid. I need to know... if they are okay... are the Internet Cafes jammed with people? Thanks.
Ginny, San Diego, California, USA

To Ginny, San Diego: At 2100 hours I saw the official list of the wounded given by the Ministerio de Interior. Your son and his friend don't figure in this list. You can see the list via this link:

And you can also visit the Ministry of the Interior website via this link Oscar, Badalona, Spain

All our sympathies and prayers are with the people of Spain. Having experienced this in November, Turkish people are mourning with you.
Farhad, Istanbul, Turkey

When did the language of protest become the bomb and not the sign? Civilization takes yet another step backward.
Gavin Farley, Los Angeles, Ca USA

How about a connection to Jose Javier Arizcuren-Ruiz who was arrested on 11th March 1999? Head of Eta's military wing, it's the 5-year anniversary. Eta is known for using same days such as the attacks of December 11, 1987 and December 11, 1991.
DS, NA

Has anyone realised that the bomb blast in Madrid was on the 11th March, six months from 11th September. Is it coincidence, or perhaps a deliberate plan on the part of the terrorists?
Julie Oswald, Northumberland

I heard about this terrible tragedy before going to Spanish classes. It was/is so depressing. I really feel sorry for those people who lost very dear peoples and for those all who were in these trains or area. I just want to say that almost all the world is with you, Spain. I don't know what to say more about this horrible tragedy, I have no words¿
Darta, Riga, Latvia

As a student who studied in Spain last year and spent some time in Madrid, my thoughts are with the Spanish people who so graciously welcomed me into their country. This is a terrible and tragic day, yet a reminder that people must not surrender to terrorists and their campaign to impose fear.
Mike Lavers, Durham, USA

11th of September and 11th of March and coordinated ruthlessness indicate for me Al-Qaeda.
Thorbjörn Collin, Västerås, Sweden

I bring to you a bull's heart for courage in desperate situations.
El Spanido, Madrid

I keep seeing those images on TV and I try to find a reason why
Marc Granja, Barcelona

I haven't stopped crying all day. I keep seeing those images on TV and I try to find a reason why. There's no reason. My father arrived at that station yesterday night. It could have been him. Now he is safe, but 190 people have already died, and no one will be able to give them a reason why they died. Life is unfair, and the world has gone mad. When will we stop all this hate there's in this world?
Marc Granja, Barcelona, Spain

Mexico and Spain share such deep roots, history, traditions, and most of all reciprocal affection, that this terrific and cowardly act was felt as if it had occurred in Mexico and targeted against our own people. Needless to say, Mexico as a whole is grieving along with our beloved brothers and sisters of Spain. Mexico los tendrá ahora y siempre en su corazón y sus oraciones. Que Dios los bendiga y auxilie.
Luis A Gallardo, Mexico City, Mexico

I was supposed to take a train at Atocha at that time but I was late. What I saw I will remember for the rest of my life. Absolute horror! I donated blood to try and help, but all day long I have been paralysed by what I had seen. My thoughts are with those who lost their lives and those that are fighting for their lives. Time will hopefully heal some wounds, but surely questions must be answered about this whole tragedy. The night is falling on Madrid, to end a horrible day. Hopefully tomorrow will be a bit better...
Dominique Tappy, Madrid

As a person who grew up and lives in NYC, I wanted to let the people of Madrid, Spain to know that our prayers are with them.
Dennis Lee, New York, USA

To all the people who have lost loved ones in this mess my heart goes out to you. My prayers tonight are for you and all those suffering from these acts of horror.
Jane Coburn, Bucks, UK

Events like this are a shame for the whole human race. I pray for the victims and their families.
Jose Antonio Medina, Rome, Italy

It's a sad day when one human can bring himself to participate in such actions which bring so much destruction and grief to so many innocent people. But sadly this is not the first time and unfortunately, I fear, not the last. My heart raced as I heard. My sister lives in Entravias, and there was a controlled explosion close to her apartment. She travels on the Cercanias commuter train every day. I thank God she was off sick today.
Gerard, Sligo, Ireland

Could the BBC please stop calling Eta a separatist group? As Ana Palacio (Spain's Foreign Secretary) said today on BBC News 24 labelling Eta as a terrorist group is not a matter of opinion, it is a fact, recognised by international organisations, like the EU.
Xavier, London, UK

I am normally in that station every morning, and was lucky today
Bal Powar, Madrid
My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones or have friends and family injured. I am normally in that station every morning, and was lucky today. Feel shocked, sad, and angry. What world are we creating?
Bal Powar, Madrid, Spain

Eta or not, this disgusting act of terrorism exposes a most serious threat. It is fairly obvious that explosions took place high in the carriages most likely from bags in the luggage racks. How do we prevent this, without mass screening of train passengers?
John Mason, Falkirk, Scotland

I feel very sad reading this news from Madrid. This is something my mother, living in southern Spain, seemed to warn about a week ago. Instead of accusing some group or another (without knowing for sure), let us hope that real criminals will be found and get their punishment in court of law. And let us help the people who are injured or lost their relatives and friends.
Sami Määttä, Helsinki, Finland

It is happening again, like a nightmare recurring. It is in the midst of such carnage and helplessness that anger is bred in us - for it triumphs over our fear. Anger alone does not hold cabal over fear and anger alone will not be the solution. What must be remembered is that those who would bath in the blood of innocents are evil beyond reason, and should be shunned by human kind. Any who speak otherwise give mouth to the devil himself.
David Lawrence, New York City

A country can never be used to terrorism, but Spain, sadly has great experience on the matter
Ivan Cintado Barroso, Madrid

A country can never be used to terrorism, but Spain, sadly has great experience on the matter. Because of the threat that Eta have always laid upon us, peaceful people who believe that, in order to achieve a political goal, you cannot possibly have a weapon in your hands. Anyhow, it has struck me the fact that the President of the country has not mentioned the words Eta during his speech, and this could be a turning point since, if Eta was truly not involved and we (Spaniards) are a target for Arab terror movements the story changes dramatically because we would have to look into Government's past decisions very carefully. The pain, and the beastfully way in which this attack has broken our peaceful everyday lives cannot be forgotten and I wish I knew certainly who to blame and although time will tell, I hope time tells the truth.
Ivan Cintado Barroso, Madrid

The explosion in the train near Atocha Station (the second one) woke me up. The house where I live is next to the rail. My bed and all the building moved and a huge sound was heard. Then, I turned on the TV and the radio to try to find out what was happening. A burnt-plastic smell and an opaque cloud entered in my house when I opened the window, which is at the other side of the building. I committed the big error to go down to the street and I saw a train with six wagons and three big holes. People walking down the rails and other lying down on the ground. Pieces of the train in the street and dead people trapped in the twisted irons
Fernando, Madrid, Spain

The masses of people that use the public transportation system in Madrid is huge
Fernando Martinez, USA
I lived in and used the Atocha train station, this attack has hit close to home for me. I still remember waiting for the train to come up and take me to el centro ciudad. The masses of people that use the public transportation system in Madrid is huge, this is a colossal disaster. A tragedy... Que Dios los guarde en su seno..
Fernando Martinez, USA

A terrible and appalling tragedy - I can only imagine the terrible suffering of these people. Spain is a fantastic country and Madrid a fantastic city. My heart goes out to anyone affected by this disaster. As for identifying the killers, from a distant perspective I would urge caution in pointing the finger of blame. This atrocity may prove to be the work of extremist ETA activists and yet the scale is wholly unprecedented. How could this serve the Basque cause? Whoever was responsible, will I hope be caught and brought to account.
Neil Walker, Gloucester, UK

I live in Andalucia but we all are in shock (as I am sure the whole country is). I know this kind of terrorism from London and I know the son of a ETA victim (shot at point blank range). The public are led to believe that the terrorists never gain from their acts of terror and show their disgust so why continue? I think that the majority of acts now are committed by the new generation of the "political" terrorist groups who are motivated by their blood lust and have forgotten or never knew the initial motives of the founders of such groups. It is now an excuse to commit crimes and be praised by those around them.
Siobhean Gribbin, Estepona, Spain

My son age 16 called from Alcala De Henares to say he was ok. He is on a trip with 7 other students studying at the international school there for 2 weeks from Texas. Our small town in Texas sends our sympathy and our prayers for all the people and country of Spain. My son said it is a horrible tragedy like our 9/11 was to our country. We may be from different countries but we are all family created by our father. We are mourning now with you Spain.
Lynda Pohl, Belton, Texas U.S.A.

Shame on UEFA, who are forcing the Celtic Vs Barcelona football match to go ahead tonight despite the fact that neither team wants to play after such a tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Spain.
David Russell, Glasgow, UK

Fate was on his side today and I am so grateful for that
Nadine, Twyford, England
My brother avoided the blasts this morning by oversleeping and missing his train. However, it took me a while to get through to his mobile this morning and those moments of sheer panic were unbearable. Fate was on his side today and I am so grateful for that. My heart goes out to all of those caught up in the blasts and all those who will hear the worst today about people they love.
Nadine, Twyford, England

Today when I arrived at the office and I didn't see some people who normally take the trains at these stations every morning, I had a strange feeling as to how loved people can suddenly disappear in an unexpected way, close people that when you say "see you tomorrow", the last thing you think is that you will lose them tomorrow. Finally all my friends here have arrived. One of them took the car instead of the train because he was too tired to get to the station. It was 10 minutes before the explosion, his station was one in which the terror act happened.
Miguel Angel Fajardo, Madrid, Spain

As a civil servant for the Aragonese government in Spain, all offices closed at midday for 5 minutes to commemorate the victims of the train blast. The depth of hatred and disgust expressed by many of my Spanish counterparts was reminiscent of the condemnation in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
George Philippidis, Zaragoza, Spain

We are shocked here in Madrid. Chaos is everywhere and nobody knows how many bombs are yet to explode or who did this terrible act. I was waiting for the train at Nuevos Ministerios station this morning (next one from Atocha). All these people were innocent people. They left home and loved ones this morning and won't be coming back in the evening...
Mar, Madrid, Spain

This is without doubt a savage act of murder
Colin Gittens, Bristol, UK
I am British and my wife is Spanish Basque. She is proud of being Spanish and is deeply upset by today's tragic events and the perception of the those who assume that a) all Basques are separatists and b) all separatists condone ETA's acts of terrorism. I think it's important to emphasise that those responsible are terrorists, irrespective of where they come from or whom they represent, and acts like today that are designed to disrupt Spain, will only serve to unite the country and increase opposition to these acts of cowardly violence. This is without doubt a savage act of murder.
Colin Gittens, Bristol, UK

I received an e-mail from a great friend yesterday, a great man, who was explaining his excitement about having work in Madrid this week. And now I am sitting helplessly at my computer terminal, unable to contact him, wondering if he is alive, injured, or even dead.
Ian Collier, Falmouth, England

My boyfriend is in Madrid for the week on holiday and I heard the horrific news at 7.30am this morning. After 4 frantic hours trying to get through to him I heard he was okay. I'm still in a state of shock really but just so relieved that he is safe.
Beth Henstock, London, England

I had three calls this morning from relatives in England who knew about the atrocities before me. I was able to answer the phone each time. Hundreds of relatives will not get the same response from their loved ones. Absolutely shocking.
Teacher, Madrid

ETA is a terrorist group, which is something different than a separatist group. A separatist group doesn't kill 180 people.
Jose Bell, Madrid (Spain)

Every morning I go to university in those trains which have been used as a terrible weapon
Carlos, Fuenlabrada
Every morning I go to university in those trains which have been used as a terrible weapon. At that time they are so crowded that in case of terrorist attack I can not imagine what chaos there must have been. I do not know what the terrorists think about life, about workers or the students who they killed. From my point of view when they realise what they did to this people they won't be able to live with it any more. No al terrorismo!! No a ETA!!
Carlos, Fuenlabrada

The inhuman attacks against civilians in Madrid are most undoubtedly the work of fanatical Islamist supporters of Osama Bin Laden. The attacks were clearly designed to cause maximum casualties amongst the civilian population, as in the September 11 outrage in New York and the bombing in Bali. Spain was one of the staunchest allies of the US and Britain in the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq and this is why Madrid was targeted. Attempts have been made to pin the blame on the Basque separatist group ETA. However, ETA is highly unlikely to have carried out these attacks. Historically ETA has never targeted civilians on such a scale. Such indiscriminate operations would totally alienate their remaining support base in the Basque country and lead to an unprecedented clampdown by the Spanish authorities.
Finto, Belfast, Ireland

I'm an 18 year old girl and I have lost one friend in this horrible day that no-one will forget. Another friend of mine is injured, but he is ok. He is atheistic, and when I have phoned him he just said to me: "I've seen God". He, this morning, was late because he woke up later today. My heart is broken in hundreds of pieces, one for every killed person. Thank you for informing all the world about our tragedy.
Spanish girl, Madrid

As a Basque myself, I can not understand how ETA has dared to commit this criminal act. I knew already they were bloody killers but I would never have believed they would ever do something like this. It's time for all Spanish democratic political parties to stand together against ETA.
Luis Gil-Bazo, Bilbao, Spain

The majority of Basque people condemn terrorism
Patricia, London, UK
I'm Spanish, from the Basque Country, and I'm absolutely horrified and speechless. At the moment I'm trying to contact all my friends in Madrid to find out if they're all ok. Most are - but lots of people they work with are missing, others missed that train. There's not much more I can say, except that the majority of Basque people condemn terrorism. We are peace loving people and our name is being tainted by a few who claim they speak for us. They don't. All my sympathy to all those who have lost someone today.
Patricia, London, UK

Having lived with the Troubles in Northern Ireland and watched the agonisingly slow crawl towards peace, it is heartbreaking to think that such horrific violence is still being unleashed...I hope the Spanish government and ETA achieve some kind of peace soon. If the violence in Northern Ireland has served any purpose may it be as a warning and lesson to others.
Emily, Belfast

Here in Spain, we smell a rat. This is not the normal ETA way. They are so closely watched, the authorities here know exactly who and where the vast majority of ETA activists are. This bears all the hallmarks of something else. Spain is sadly not as well informed by her intelligence services as perhaps the UK or USA, nor do they commit the resources they could to this fight. Living here in the South we see with our own eyes the ineptitude and incompetence of the law enforcement agencies on a daily basis. There is no money and even less will to stop illegal entry of both people and drugs to the coast here. Spain has absolutely no idea of who, what and when they arrive or leave.
Piers McGillycuddy, Marbella, Spain

I am devastated by such a terrifying event in a European capital city
Barbara Harper, Leeds, UK
I am devastated by such a terrifying event in a European capital city. Looking at the stunned reactions of the poor Madrileños and the chaos that has occurred today, I hope the British news media will give this the prominence in our own news reports that it merits; we must show our solidarity and sympathy for all Spanish people today and in the weeks ahead. Whoever is responsible ETA or others they have aimed to destroy ordinary working people on their way to work. They are despicable.
Barbara Harper, Leeds, UK

My heart goes out to the families of all the victims. Here in Argentina people are deeply shocked by this new atrocity and a lot of us are trying to get news from friends or relatives living in Madrid. Although some Spanish authorities have been quick to pin the blame on the ETA the fact that today is the 11th shouldn't be overlooked. A coincidence or a sinister reminder of 9/11?
Jimmy Stewart, Buenos Aires, Argentina

My reaction to the train bombings is one of outrage, disbelief and desolation. It makes it painfully (literally) obvious that the political forces of the country must seek a consensus on how to deal with the terrorist problem. And it is high time that the international press, including BBC, start labelling ETA correctly: not a 'separatist group', nor a group involved in armed struggle (against unarmed civil victims?) for independence. It is, plain and simple, a terrorist organization, whose true motives are only known to them, and who rest on indiscriminate violence (except for members of Basque nationalist organizations, including moderate ones).
Manuel Acevedo, Madrid, Spain

This morning, I was in my faculty attending one of my courses when my teacher said that there had been a terrorist attack in Madrid and at least 30 people had died (173 at the moment); he started to cry. I continued the course for an hour and came back home. I spent the whole morning watching the news. The Spanish population is shocked, the university stopped courses until Monday, I'm scared and fed up of this. The ETA has assassinated again, because they're assassins and no other word can be used. I cannot put up with it anymore, I cannot even talk, I have no more tears to cry. I cannot see more atrocities. What kind of world are we building up? Where's human conscience?
Paula Fernández, Salamanca, Spain

What do these people hope to achieve by killing innocent civilians?
Nicholas Korres, Manchester, UK
Many friends of mine live and work in Madrid. None of them has been hurt but they feel terrified. I am still in shock since I heard the news. What do these people hope to achieve by killing innocent civilians? We have to stand together, united. It's the only way to protect peace and democracy within European Union.
Nicholas Korres, Manchester, UK

History has always shown us that with violence nothing is obtained except for misery of innocent victims. I send all my prayers to the families of the victims and to the victims themselves. Whoever is responsible for the death of more than 170 innocent people will carry the responsibility to the grave and may he burn in hell for eternity.
Kev Bonell, Malta

This is a complete tragedy, many of the dead were students on their way to college or people on their way to work. In the past, ETA have given short warnings ahead of their attacks to the Basque newspaper Gara, who then informed the police. That did not happen. Today's events have stunned everyone - how could something like this occur just days away from a general election? Our thoughts are with those who have lost loved ones.
Andrew, Madrid, Spain

As the vast majority of Basques, I feel revolted whenever I hear ETA referred to as "Basque Separatists". They are nothing but terrorists. They don't represent me or any decent people anywhere. They don't even deserve to be called "people". Cowards. It's a pity that Spanish law doesn't contemplate life imprisonment.
Maria Elena de Palacios, Santander(Cantabria)-Spain

If it would have happened any other day I would have been in that train
Roberto M.Carretero, Madrid, Spain
I'm university student at a campus near Atocha and I catch every day the train line where the bombs have been pushed. Today, luckily, there is a teachers' strike at the university so me and my friends haven't caught that train. I can't believe what is happening. If it would have happened any other day I would have been in that train. Thanks for all of your words, its helps us to continue.
Roberto M.Carretero, Madrid, Spain

In 1992 I was witness to the devastation that ETA can cause in Fuengirola, Spain when the group set off a car bomb outside the Pyramides Hotel. I am a photographer and my pictures were distributed by Reuters. My pictures as well as those of the photographers in Madrid today are able to capture the scenes of horror and death and destruction; what we have always failed to show is the hope and determination of victims of terrorism and the way in which the terrorised are able to fight against this small band of faceless cowards. 173 or more people have died this morning over 40 million people will make their voices heard tomorrow to show that they did not die in vain.
Paolo Dalmazzo, Mijas-Costa. Spain

As a Basque I feel outraged at the attitude of the Spanish Government, who automatically blames ETA rather than Islamic extremists because they just can't accept the attack being a consequence of the Spanish involvement in the Iraq war, a war that was utterly rejected by the majority of the Spanish population. Three days before the elections that fact is simply unacceptable.
Eneko Fraile, Madrid

It is terrible. My friend lives in Madrid, and I'm trying to call him, but I can't. We are very worried, here in Warsaw. I still can't believe in it.
Marta, Warsaw, Poland

I expect our Government to make the anti-terrorist fight our main priority
Jaime G. Alvarez, Spanish citizen in Brussels
I come from Madrid and am still trying to locate some friends who might have taken a train there. I have read those comforting letters from our British friends. Thank you to all of you! I expect our Government to make the anti-terrorist fight our main priority and work with the other European nations to make terrorism disappear. May we show the same endurance that the UK has shown during more than a century of sectarian bombings. What a way to try bringing a "new nation" into the concert of civilized nations! These are no "freedom fighters" but just low-class cowards and criminals. I hope that they serve life-term sentences.
Jaime G. Alvarez, Spanish citizen in Brussels, Belgium

Right now, I am first and foremost, a citizen of Madrid. I can tell you all that the feel of the streets is quite sad and sombre. I have seen several people (strangers with nothing in common but our shared participation in a democratic system that only wishes to live in peace) ... ready to burst in tears. Tomorrow at 19:00 Madrid time the entire population of Spain will take ton the streets to cry out for democracy and an end to the dictatorship of terrorism. PLEASE join us in European capitals everywhere. Despite the terrorist efforts, we will vote this Sunday to freely elect our government. Democracy WILL live on.
David Gómez Rosado, Spain

I saw a train that was totally ripped apart
Elonor Tomatillo, Madrid, Spain
I live close to Atocha and I was ready to walk to the train station, when suddenly I heard a big BOOOM. I walked around the station and I saw a train that was totally ripped apart. My concern is that the Spanish people are paying the price for the Iraq war.
Elonor Tomatillo, Madrid, Spain

As someone who is half-Basque, I hope and pray that this is not the work of ETA. ETA claim to speak on behalf of a country that, in fact, overwhelmingly wants peace. No Basque should seek independence at the price of dignity. Whoever is responsible for this outrage, my thoughts are with the victims and families.
Michael, UK

I live in the centre of Madrid and was at Plaza Cibeles waiting for a bus when the blasts went off. The scene reminded me of recent news reports from Iraq. Ambulances, fire engines, police cars(marked and not) tearing down the street. The feeling is one of shock, numbness and eeriness. This does not happen in Western Europe! I will join millions of Spanish people tomorrow, and (I trust) my fellow expats in attending marches against terrorism of any kind. Another 11th day of the month we shall not forget.
Michael, Madrid, Spain

From the island of Manhattan to the people of Madrid, our prayers are with you today.
Eric, New York City

Could these "people" watch the TV or read the news tomorrow without feeling the pain of our families? They have been doing it during decades, and they will do it in the future.
Cristina San Juan, Madrid, Spain

How these cowards can kill in a democratic Europe and still pretend they are being attacked by a democratic Spain that gives to the Basque country the biggest autonomy in Europe?
Ignacio, Madrid

Luckily she decided to get off one stop before and walk to work as it is a very busy station
Angela C. Le Pera, London
My sister was on the train this morning. It was the one approaching Atocha the same one that exploded. Luckily she decided to get off one stop before and walk to work as it is a very busy station. She told me someone was looking after her blessings. From London I send my prayers to all the victims and their families in my country.
Angela C. Le Pera, London

Having read the comments, there is not much more I can add. I have been lucky, no-one I know has been directly involved in the explosions but here in the office we are all completely numb and feel an enormous inability to do anything constructive. Everyone's instinct is to give blood and the authorities have now had to ask people to stop because they are overwhelmed. My thoughts are with all the people and their families who were involved.
Sarah Carruthers, Madrid, Spain

My best friend is in Madrid right now. Luckily I've heard she is okay but even the thought of what could have happened is mind-numbing. All I can do is offer my heartfelt sympathy for everyone affected and my utmost condemnation for those responsible.
Ed, London

My mother was in one of those trains and the bomb exploded barely 20 metres far away of her seat. She wasn't injured but the man in front of her seat was dead. All the lights of the train went out. Everybody screamed and ran. Everybody is still phoning his/her friends and relatives to know if they are ok.All the people in those trains were workers and students. What will ETA (if they were responsible, because they usually warn before an attack and today there weren't any warnings)achieve with all these deaths? I think violence doesn't achieve anything, only shedding innocent blood and tears.
Alba, Alcala de Henares, Spain

It is hard to believe that people could justify murdering 170 people for a cause. I feel sure the Spanish & European police will find the murderers responsible!
Gist , USA

Time for the European community to seriously think about bringing back the death penalty for the cowards who commit these atrocities.
A D J Lamnea, Portsmouth UK

One of the trains bombed is a train that goes to the university campus in Madrid. I frantically tried contacting my friend who attends the university and lives 10 minutes from Atocha, she regularly catches the train around 7.30am. Luckily, there is a teachers' strike at the university today so she didn't catch that train, many students lives will have been saved by that strike.
Rachel, Alicante

He was driving past Atocha when the first explosion went off
Germán Lastra, Southampton, UK
A colleague from our Madrid office would almost certainly have been on one of the bombed trains had he not decided at the last minute to take the car to deliver some surplus nappies to another colleague. He was driving past Atocha when the first explosion went off. It is sobering how an apparently inconsequential decision can become so important, and ironic that some nappies may have saved his life.
Germán Lastra, Southampton, UK

My parents live in front of the El Pozo station and they heard the explosions. There is a nursery behind my parent's house. People drop their kids off there then catch the train and they can't contact the parents of 7 of the children.
Montserrat Medina , New Malden

My sister has just called me. She is a doctor and works in Hospital Clínico in Madrid, far from Atocha Station. She had a 26 year old girl who can't talk, with many injuries, and her mobile rang. My sister answered and it was her cousin, trying to find her. She had to tell her to call the family and went there. She's now in the intensive care unit. There are priests in the hospital... is just terrible.
Patricia Para, Madrid, Spain

This is not the first terrorist attack that I have lived through in Madrid, but it is certainly the largest and, I hope, the last. There were roadblocks on the way to work yesterday, so I think the Guardia Civil suspected terrorist activity. This is definitely the work of ETA.
Simon Taylor, Madrid, Spain

In a few hours, all the blood needed for the day was collected. I was queuing up as lots of people gave blood. People in Spain know about solidarity, and in these hard times we will need all of it.
Diego, Madrid, Spain

An eerie silence has descended on the streets of Madrid. As an Englishman living here for 15 years I trust the Spanish people to stand by their constitution and fight ETA the terrorist - not separatist - group with the laws of the land. Tomorrow I, with millions of others, will attend the demonstration with my Spanish wife and twin babies to show my support for the families of the victims and the Spanish people.
Charles, Madrid, Spain

Spain should stand strong and united in these desperate times!
Mark Jones, Madrid, Spain
I'm British and live in Madrid, and like my Spanish colleagues, here in the office, am completely numbed, saddened and shocked. We must all stand together and confront this threat! I hope everyone goes and votes on Sunday in the elections! Spain should stand strong and united in these desperate times!
Mark Jones, Madrid, Spain

My girlfriend and I were on a train heading for Atocha when the bombs went off. ETA (if it was them) attacks are nothing new here, but they have never tried anything on this scale before. What did they expect to achieve by this?
Tim, Madrid

A work colleague was driving close to Atocha station on her way to the office when the blasts happened. Luckily she was able to drive away from the chaos and got here nearly hysterical.
Fco. Miguel Virgil, Madrid, Spain

This morning, I was just preparing to go to the office when suddenly I heard two BOOOMMMS. I live 500 metres from one of the places where these killers placed two bombs. A friend of mine is in hospital and I don't know whether he's going to live or not.
Encarnacion, Madrid, Spain

One of the trains exploded just in front of my window this morning. I am still in shock. Has anybody any kind of benefit from this? Of course not. This is crazy.
Luis, Madrid, Spain

When can we learn to live alongside each other in peace?
Tanya Perdikou, York, England
My brother lives and works in Madrid and when I heard about the attacks I knew I could not do anything else all day until I knew he was ok. He is fine, but I still feel like crying because I know that others have lost their brothers, and I have only glimpsed the depths of their pain. When can we learn to live alongside each other in peace?
Tanya Perdikou, York, England

My wife is from Madrid. My brother in-law normally is on the trains in Madrid at that time... but today, of all days they told him he did not need to come into work until later in the day. Oh, thank God. This mindless horror that is ETA needs to be stopped.
Andrew C, W. Midlands, UK

A woman living across Atocha found the door of one of the metro wagons in her living room. Luckily she was in one of the other rooms helping the kids get dressed and no one was injured.
Pedro, Madrid

There was a constant stream of ambulances going up and down the road towards Atocha with sirens blaring
Simon Audus, Atocha, Madrid, Spain
I was on the underground metro,passing through Atocha Renfe at about 8:00. When the train stopped at Atocha Renfe, there was nobody on the platform, then, there were security guards running up and down the platform not letting people off the train. The main concourse area beyond the turnstiles was deserted, it was a very eerie feeling. Normally its very crowded. Later, I had to make my way to a business where I teach English every morning, that is very close to Atocha Renfe. A road passes by this area that leads directly to Atocha and the disaster site. There was a constant stream of ambulances going up and down the road towards Atocha with sirens blaring, people were crowding into a local bar to watch TV reports of what has happening. The sadness and shock registering on their faces as they watched.
Simon Audus, Atocha, Madrid, Spain

I use Atocha station every day but thankfully I had an appointment this morning. What a tragic waste of life, it is impossible to describe the evil of these events.
Julian Alonso, Madrid

I change trains everyday in Atocha at about 8 O'Clock. Today, as all Thursadays, I was taking my daughter to nursery when my wife called to tell me there had been an explosion in the station. I dropped my daughter off and took the metro instead. The shock at work was tangible but people are now "getting on as usual". The Spanish people are strong and will not submit to terrorism.
Christopher McMahon, Madrid, Spain

What are we going to do now? Going to a massive manifestation? Stop working during 5 minutes? I'm afraid it is not enough.
Helena, Madrid, Spain

We just want peace and justice.
Diego, Madrid, Spain

As a madrilean living in England I can only express my sadness, shock and the hope that ETA listens to the Spanish citizens and stop killing. Now!
MJ Gago, Oxford, UK

I am shocked and saddened to hear of this morning's atrocity. I believe all good people everywhere will condemn this action. I am very angry that an organization such as ETA exists and that some people feel the need to support them. Whatever your beliefs, nobody should be murdered for an idea.
Gareth Rees, Lerida, Spain

There is no excuse for terror, no matter who when and why
Vladimir Beker, Israel
There is no excuse for terror, no matter who when and why. There should be no other names for terrorists. Not freedom fighters, not militants, not separatists. Just terrorists. Our hearts are with people of Spain.
Vladimir Beker, Israel

Spain is in tears, but ETA won't get to kill the freedom in this country. ¡No al terrorismo!¡No a ETA!¡Viva la democracia!
Pedro César Quintana, Spain

My eldest son is donating blood right now for the victims of these attacks. The BBC and CNN continue to refer to ETA as a "separatist" group instead of "terrorist" group which is what they are. What is your reaction?
Jean-Paul Fandel, Madrid, Spain

I am still trying to get in contact with a cousin who moved to Madrid last week to start on a new job there. I think he would have been in Atocha station at the time.
Alberto Ruiz, La Linea, Cadiz, Spain.

This morning I arrived late at work because of the traffic chaos in Madrid. The mobile network was down and many of my colleagues were trying to contact me.
Jose Luis Vega, Madrid

I woke up this morning to see what had happened. I have family in Madrid and friends of mine are trying to see if anyone close to us was on any of the trains.
Joana, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The first explosion at Atocha woke me, so I went out on the balcony to see what happened, when a second bang and a plume of smoke came just south of the platforms. Now everyone here in work is on edge, the phones are jammed and we are trying to make sure friends and family are not hurt.
Ryan, Madrid

Our Spanish company is in shock. After 9/11 the world had a right to expect this industrial scale carnage to stop. It will achieve absolutely nothing other than misery and pain for innocent people going about their daily business. Our heartfelt condolences go to the families of the bereaved.
Ken Barkway, Woking, England

Everybody is upset at work
William Pay, Madrid, Spain
I work for a drug company north of Madrid but a few of my colleagues are travelling from the south every morning. Several of them missed the bombs by 2 minutes. Everybody is upset at work. I am from New York. This morning's bomb attacks reminded me of the day in Manhattan on Sept 11.
William Pay, Madrid, Spain

It's a very sad morning in the office, where today my work seems insignificant. With recent foiled attempts to cause such havoc, I feared that something like this was just waiting to happen. Today I realise how lucky I am to be able to walk to the office!
Paul Holloway, Madrid, Spain

I work in a multinational company, with many offices in Spain and the staff of Madrid are really shocked (as are all of us). One of the staff is in the hospital as his wife was on one of the trains. She is fine, but scared and shocked. Stop this madness.
Jokin, Amsterdam, Netherlands

I live nearby the Atocha station and could hear the blasts. Madrid is in chaos right now. There is a constant wail of sirens as ambulances and fire trucks race to the station.
Rafael Montero, Madrid - Spain

Over 2000 people have gathered in Puerta del Sol in central Madrid to donate blood. The Spanish Red Cross (Cruz Roja) report they now have sufficient enough supplies.
Mark Dalglish, Madrid, Spain

Everyone was remarkably calm, information was being passed on by word of mouth
Faith Rose, Madrid, Spain
I left for work at 8:10 local time to find an empty train abandoned at Piramides train station which is a few stops from Atocha. Everyone was remarkably calm, information was being passed on by word of mouth. Many offices have shut to allow employees to go and donate their much needed blood. The city is in a state of shock. As an English placement student here I have been bombarded by desperate calls by relatives, it has been harder for internal calls as telephone lines are overloaded and can't cope.
Faith Rose, Madrid, Spain

I have no words... the lines were saturated; I was not able to call from my mobile to check if my sister was there... Poor people all over the world are affected by terrorism, of all religions...
Javier Vilarino, Madrid, Spain

I was woken up by two strong blasts to the windows in our flat. It was like very strong wind - but I knew it wasn't wind. 10 minutes later there was another blast followed by sounds of sirens.
Duncan Briffett, Madrid, Spain

I work around the corner from the station and it's absolute chaos. People unable to call relatives for network crashes, taxis being used as ambulances and donations of blood being called for. I never thought I would witness something like this firsthand.
Joel Markham, Madrid

I want to say that ETA is a terrorist group and not a separatist group. There are many differences between both words. Please change the word after today. That is very important for Spanish people. Thanks.
Alberto, Spain

My sister had a narrow escape and so did my work colleague
Barbara Garcia, Madrid, Spain
My sister had a narrow escape and so did my work colleague. Everyone in Madrid is really shocked by this appalling news. Apparently, there is a huge number of casualties (125 got killed and 350 badly injured) and there are many more to come. I would like to take this opportunity to let the world know about all Spaniards' concern and dissatisfaction. We are disgusted to see bombs going off day in day out and witness innocent people getting killed. Will this horrible situation be put to an end? If you want to know my personal opinion, I very much doubt it.
Barbara Garcia, Madrid, Spain

I agree with how over crowded the trains can be. A lot of these trains run in tunnels under the city (not the metro). Thankfully the bombs didn't explode in the tunnels or we'd be counting many many, more people dead than at present. I used the Cercanias last night through Atocha and would have used it again later this morning.
Paul Berry, Madrid

Authorities talk about a minimum 125 death and more than 400 injured in the blasts. Ambulances were not enough to move injured people to hospitals. Spain is shocked and people are absolutely astonished with an incredibly angry face down the streets.
Gonzalo Garcia de Viedma, Madrid -Spain

I did not directly witness the explosions, but I am near both places the explosions have taken in... there are many ambulances picking up wounded people, there are at least one hundred people killed, and all hospitals are working hard trying to manage the situation. Now Madrid looks like a war, absolutely collapsed and full of chaos...
Raul, Madrid

A lot of people here are shocked and EVERYONE is phoning relatives and friends
Englishman, Madrid, Spain
I am English living in Madrid about 3 miles from Atocha. I didn't hear the bombs go off but all you can hear now are the sounds of ambulances. The tube system was fine this morning on my way to work, you'd never know anything had happened except for the announcements that the tube station that Atocha is closed. A lot of people here are shocked and EVERYONE is phoning relatives and friends. A few people have not turned up for work yet and we cannot get hold of them on their mobiles...
Englishman, Madrid, Spain

The telephone lines are blocked. The media are asking the population to stop all mobile phone calls that are not important.
Maite Marco, Valencia, Spain

07:50 local time - I reached Atocha and there were just crowds of people trying to find out what was going on. Cafes were shut, there was a smell of smoke and the big security doors to the regional train section was closed. Security guards were turning everyone away. The regular metro was still running although experiencing delays. Everyone used the buses and metro to get to work and school. All the mobile networks were busy with everyone calling home to say they were OK. At all of the other stations, police cars were constantly racing past with sirens blaring. Now we are just waiting to see what is shown on the news.
Stephen O'Flynn, Madrid, Spain

Looking down from one of Madrid's few skyscrapers, we can see two large mobile blood donation units in the Plaza de Castilla which were set up almost immediately. Large crowds of donors quickly arrived and are waiting their turn patiently to help. I normally go by train to the office from Aravaca to Atocha or Recoletos, as my office is just between those two stations. This morning I took my car, as I wasn't feeling too well. I'm happy to be here and alive, but shocked and angry.
Bettina Stabell Elvang, Madrid Spain

I travel on this train everyday. It is the busiest train I have seen in this station with people commuting into the center. The train is often so full there are security guards stopping more getting on. The 4 explosions shook my house 150m from Atocha at around 08:00. I was late. I should have been there. The bombs woke me up.
martin harrison, Madrid, Spain

I live in Santa Eugenia, where the second explosion has happened. I was going to take the train at eight o'clock, so when I was getting close to the train station the massacre started. There was a very big blast in the trains and everything that happened after that has been very confused. I could not move from there. I saw a lot of people wounded and the police and ambulance were taking the place. The last information said around 20 dead people only in this station.
Ignacio, Madrid, Spain

At 10 AM my brother called from the hospital in Madrid. He is fine but lost his best friend. I just keep asking the same question: Why? Why?
Hugo Iglas, Oulu, Finland

I don't work anywhere near Atocha but I do work in the capital and I can say that there is utter shock and dismay here. The main routes out of Madrid have been shut with armed road blocks checking each car. There has been an appeal for blood and the figures now being reported suggest over 100 dead. 0730 is not the peak time as being suggested as most people get to work for 0900 but nevertheless trains are busy....
Steve Antrobus, Madrid Spain

Driving to work at around 9:40 this morning on the M-50 (One of Spain´s ring roads) when about 10 ambulances and police cars came rushing through traffic. I could see them all surrounding a local train station where police and local fire officers where evacuating people from the station.
Gerardo Macari, Madrid Spain

The ambulances are now having to cross Madrid centre to reach hospitals that have room. Atocha is a station that has over 12 platforms for network trains plus another 10 for intercity, trains that arrive packed at that time of the morning. We are counting our blessings here that thanks to a strike at the University (less students on the trains), and a strike by traffic wardens (free parking in Madrid today - more people would travel by car and not by train).
Daniel O'Sullivan, Madrid, Spain

We're sitting in a school listening to the Spanish radio describe the carnage and there is a sense of sadness and shock that anybody would want to cause such devastation to so many innocent people. We all hope the numbers of dead doesn't rise.
Peter Moore, Seville, Spain

This was an attack waiting to happen. Atocha is home to the regional train network, the national/international network and the metro system. Trains during rush hour are overloaded to breaking point - think of Tokyo and you get the picture. Security in a situation such as this is nigh on impossible, though it must be said the authorities should have expected something as ETA normally do something before an election. Any terrorist wishing to make a huge statement would find it extremely simple to plant a bomb in this way - and more importantly, get away with it. The fact that it hasn't happened before now is a surprise. I feel the authorities, and people like myself and other Madrileños, all thought that this was too big even for ETA, that they would never do it. Now they have. I feel sick to the stomach.
Jon Stevens, Madrid, Spain

It was 7:40 a.m. when the train from Getafe arrived at Atocha train station. As the doors opened, the first bomb exploded in a different train and platform. The train I was in, which I guess was some 50 to 75 m from the bomb, was shaken. People got off quickly but still I feel we all kept calm. It was only 1 minute later that 2 more bombs exploded in rapid succession. It was at this point that people rushed out of the station. People crying. It was a shocking image. To be honest, I didn't stay any longer to see what happened.
Francisco Torres, Madrid - Spain

09:53 Local time I work to West of Atocha and there is a constant wail of sirens as ambulances rush to the scene. Traffic on the M30 ring road was fine when I came in form the North but I understand that the exits are slowly blocking up.
Christopher George, Madrid, Spain

I live a few hundred yards from Atocha train station, even though the explosions were over 3 hours ago the sound of the sirens from the ambulances is unbelievable. Sitting here watching the TV makes you realise how fortunate you can be.
Paul, Madrid Spain

I work in Madrid as part of my university degree and am very scared by today's bombings. I take the Metro to work and here lots of the people from Madrid are crying and have gone to give blood. There are still lots of sirens going off and we have the TV on showing horrible pictures of the trains down at Atocha. A lot of my work colleagues get the Cercanías trains into the city but luckily I think they are all OK.
Tracey Stephens, The Lizard, Cornwall/Madrid, Spain



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Eyewitness Francisco Torres
"People rushed from the train station"



SEE ALSO



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific