On March 11, 2004, a coordinated series of bombs detonated in three train stations in Madrid, Spain. The explosions killed 191 people and injured at least 1,800 more. The Madrid Train Bombings are some of the most deadly terrorist incidents in Europe.
 
The tragedy, occurring just three days before national elections, set off an intensely political debate in Spain. The Partido Popular, the party in power, initially blamed the ETA, a separatist group that seeks independence for Basque country, a region in northeastern Spain. Many countries, including Spain and the United States, consider the ETA a terrorist organization. The Partido Popular lost power in the elections.
 
Ultimately, Moroccan affiliates of al-Qaida were linked to the Madrid Train Bombings. A letter claiming to be from al-Qaida claimed responsibility, although the dozens of people charged in the attacks are only vaguely connected to the organization. Years later, men convicted of transporting explosives to Spain and planting the bombs on the trains were sentenced to 43,000 years in prison.
al-Qaida
Noun

loosely knit, radical Sunni Muslim terrorist group seeking to eliminate non-Muslim influence and establish shariah law.

coordinate
Verb

to work together or organize for a specific goal.

debate
Verb

to argue or disagree in a formal setting.

detonate
Verb

to cause something to explode.

election
Noun

selection of people to public office by vote.

ETA
Noun
(Euskadi ta Askatasuna, "Basque Homeland and Freedom") terrorist Basque separatist organization.
explosive
Noun

material that can quickly and violently expand due to a chemical change.

incident
Noun

event or happening.

independence
Noun

state or situation of being free.

initially
Adverb

at first.

intense
Adjective

extreme or strong.

political
Adjective

having to do with public policy, government, administration, or elected office.

Noun

any area on Earth with one or more common characteristics. Regions are the basic units of geography.

responsibility
Noun

being accountable and reliable for an action or situation.

terrorist
Adjective

having to do with the use of non-military violence and/or threats of violence to achieve or advocate political change.

tragedy
Noun

very sad event.

transport
Verb

to move material from one place to another.

vague
Adjective

unclear.

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