Madrid Connection, The

With 191 killings and 2,000 injured, the terrorist attack in Madrid in 2004 is not easily forgotten. This film takes a closer look at the mass trial of the accused terrorists.

Madrid Connection, The

Madrid Connection, The

Director: Justin Webster
Producers: Daniel Wolf & Sumpta Ayuso
Produced by: JWP Productions
Co-produced by: BBC, Televisió de Catalunya, the Danish Film Institute & Cuatro (Spain).
Duration:
58 &90 min.
Year of Production: 2007
Original Title: The Madrid Connection

Killing 191 persons the Madrid bombings in 2004 is considered to be the worst terrorist attack in Europe ever.

This year the trial of twenty-nine defendants accused of the Madrid bombings of 11 March, 2004, has begun. Thanks to a law passed in 2002, Spain has become one of the few countries in the world where trials are filmed. As a result, this will be the first mass trial of alleged terrorists linked to Al Qaeda to be captured on film, and it will take place in the city which suffered the bombing.

Two days after the bombs exploded on four local trains in and around Madrid, killing 191 commuters and leaving nearly two thousand injured, the first arrests were made. The discovery of an unexploded bomb and the mobile phone used as the detonator led police investigators quickly to a network of Islamic radicals, many of whom had been under surveillance. Despite threats from Al Qaeda, and warnings from intelligence services after the Casablanca bombings in May 2003, the attack in Spain came as a complete surprise. In a matter of days photographs of the alleged members of the terrorist cell were published in the press – including those of the two who have subsequently emerged as the operational leaders, a Tunisian named Serhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet or “El Tunecino”, and a Moroccan named Jamal Ahmidan, or “El Chino.” The bombings in Madrid were soon claimed by – or for – Al Qaeda in a fax sent to a Madrid newspaper, written by Fakhet, and in a video dropped off near a mosque. Before they were tracked down the bombers threatened Spain with further attacks if they did not break off their alliance with the US, and pull their troops out of Iraq. They looked for new targets, and placed a bomb, which failed to explode, on a high speed train link near Madrid.