The bombings of commuter trains in Madrid on Thursday prove at least one of two nightmare scenarios: • Al-Qaeda has pulled off its first big attacks on the West since 9/11. • Basque terrorists in Spain, and maybe terrorists everywhere, are learning the tactics of al-Qaeda and its affiliates. Investigators in the next few days will try to determine which is true. Most Spanish government officials believe the bombings are the work of ETA, a radical group fighting for an independent Basque state. Spanish authorities say that in the weeks before Thursday’s attacks, several ETA plots were foiled. Police discovered two backpack bombs in a train station on Christmas Eve. A van was found recently containing explosives similar to those used in the backpack bombs Thursday. But Thursday’s well-coordinated attacks also have the hallmarks of al-Qaeda. Full Story
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