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Tommorow’s elections in Spain will be interesting to watch. The terrorist bombing, whether by ETA or an Al Qaeda affiliated group, adds a sharp new dimension to the election.

Will Prime minister Aznar’s conservative party win? He went against public opinion to support the invasion of Iraq and the opposition Socialist party has pledged to remove all troops from Iraq should they win. With Al Qaeda claiming credit for the bombing and saying it is punishment for supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan what policy will Spanish voters choose? I fear there could be one less nation in the ‘coalition of the willing’.

Interior Minister Angel Acebes said a man identifying himself as the military spokesman of Al Qaeda in Europe claimed the group was responsible for the attacks Thursday that killed 200 people and wounded 1,500.

"We declare our responsibility for what happened in Madrid exactly 21/2 years after the attacks on New York and Washington," said the man, according to a government translation of the tape, which was recorded in Arabic. "It is a response to your collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies." -FoxNews.com

Whether or not it was Al Qaeda has yet to be determined. The eradication of the ETA has been a special project of Aznar, who was nearly assasinated by them.

This bombing was timed to effect the elections and send a clear message. i.e. that collaboration with the 'criminal' Bush Administration is a dangerous policy. Perhaps we can expect the same for our upcoming elections?

"This is part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader, and America's ally in its war against Islam," the claim said.

Referring to Spain's Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, the statement asked: "Aznar, where is America? Who will protect you, Britain, Japan, Italy and others from us?"

The newspaper faxed the claim to The Associated Press office in Cairo.

The statement warned the United States that a major strike is approaching.

"We announce the good news for the Muslims in the world that the strike of the black wind of death, the expected strike against America, is now at its final stage 90% ready and it is coming soon, by God's will," the claim said. -USA Today

Posted by Eric Simonson at March 14, 2004 1:16 AM