911 Days After 9/11
198 Dead and 1,400 Wounded in Madrid
Millions March in Grief

From Democracy Now!
In Madrid the death toll has risen to at least 198 in Thursday's train bombings. Officials say 10 bombs ripped through four trains at the height of rush hour killing nearly 200 and wounding 1,400. The bombings all occurred within 10 minutes of each other. Newspapers in Madrid described the day as "Spain's 9/11." It was the deadliest bombing in Europe since 1988 when 270 died in the Lockerbie airline explosion. Spanish officials immediately assumed the Basque separatist group Eta was behind the attack but evidence later emerged that forced officials to investigate a possible Al Qaeda role. An Arabic newspaper in London received a letter from a group with ties to Al Qaeda claiming responsibility. But the letter was viewed with skepticism because the same group had also taken responsibility for last year's massive black out along the East Coast. A truck containing detonators and an Arabic Koran was found. The attack came exactly two and a half years or 911 days after the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington. Spain has begun three days of mourning. Schools, museums and the Central Bank have all been shut down. Millions are expected to participate in rallies tonight to mourn the dead.
These tragic attacks could affect this weekend's general election in Spain, and should provide an interesting case study for how a democracy responds to terror.
If the government's initial suspicion (that) ETA was behind the blasts is right, that could benefit Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar's ruling Popular Party (PP) which has campaigned on its tough line against the separatist group, analysts said.

If, however, some indications al Qaeda could have been behind the attacks gain credence, many Spaniards might point a finger at the PP for stirring Muslim wrath by backing Washington and London in Iraq.

"Assuming it was ETA, the obvious emotional interpretation is this will make people back the party with the toughest line against them," politics professor Josu Mezo said.

"If it was an Islamic extremist group like al Qaeda that carried out the attack, everything would change. But it is really impossible to predict at the moment."

Moreover, mass protests called by Aznar for Friday evening under the slogan "With the Victims, With the Constitution, For the Defeat of Terrorism" were tinged with controversy.

Up to 90 percent of Spaniards opposed the war a year ago and two-thirds now want troops to come home, according to polls.
It's horrible to contemplate, but how might an attack like this one affect our upcoming election?