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This happened my last night on a business trip to Madrid.  It was a block from my hotel, on my three-block commute to the office.  Yes, I slept through it, but was startled to turn on CNN and see that the top story in the whole world had taken place down the street.  Remarkably, the clean-up was complete by 8:00 am, when I saw the scene from my taxi heading to the airport.  GTJ


Spain bombing ahead of Basque poll

May 11, 2001
Web posted at: 7:12 PM EDT (2312 GMT)

MADRID, Spain -- Three people have been injured in a car bomb explosion in central Madrid.

The explosion came late on Friday just two days before regional elections in Spain's Basque region.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the area that has been plagued by years of violence carried out by the separatist group ETA.

The blast occurred in Calle Goya, an up-market shopping area in the centre of the city, just before midnight (2200 GMT) on Friday.

Further details about the blast were not immediately known.

Police immediately cordoned off the area, which was heavily damaged.

National radio said one of the injured was a security guard who may have been buried in rubble.

Last Sunday, a suspected ETA gunman shot and killed a Popular Party senator in the nearby Aragon capital of Zaragoza, the 30th slaying since ETA ended a 14-month cease-fire in December 1999.

The following day, more than 300,000 people gathered to protest the killing of Manuel Gimenez Abad, 52, president of the local chapter of the ruling centre-right Popular Party.

Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and other Spanish politicians led the procession through Zaragoza, capital of the northeast Aragon region.

They were joined by Abad's widow Ana Larraz and their two teenage children.

Demonstrators marched holding a banner that read, "For freedom, against terrorism."

"We will defeat them with the rule of law," said Javier Arenas, president the national Popular Party.

"Basques have got to go and vote on May 13 and tell ETA that they are not wanted, that they have to disappear," said Carlos Iturgaiz, PP president in the Basque region.

ETA has killed more than 800 people in its 33-year-old campaign for Basque independence.

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Last updated September 13, 2002.