Tony Blair has tried to save the day. From The Sun, with thanks to Nicolei:
TONY Blair last night made an impassioned plea to Spain’s new premier NOT to pull his troops out of Iraq in the wake of the Madrid terrorist massacre.
His personal phone call came as Jose Zapatero threatened to undermine the military alliance by withdrawing 1,300 men.
Security experts said al-Qaeda would see Spain’s withdrawal from Iraq “” along with the toppling of former Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar’s right-wing government “” as a major victory.
It would not only hand them a massive propaganda coup, it might also encourage them to launch more attacks aimed at political ends.
If al-Qaeda is proved to be behind the Madrid bombs “” as most experts now believe “” it would be the first time Islamic fanatics have toppled a Western government by killing civilians.
Two hundred died and 1,500 were injured in the train bomb carnage.
Some security insiders say bringing down the government was al-Qaeda’s prime goal in last Thursday”s attacks.
They point to a 50-page book, Iraq al-Jihad, which appeared on militant internet sites last December.
It discussed attacking Spanish targets to increase public hostility to the war and topple PM Aznar. It explicitly suggested militants “exploit the coming elections in Spain”.
The book said: “We think the Spanish government could not afford more than two or three attacks after which it would have to withdraw as a result of popular pressures.”
One security expert said: “In the end, they only needed one attack.”
The same page of The Sun (look at the sidebar on the right) tells us that Spain was warned four weeks ago, but disregarded the warnings, and that British radical Muslims may have been involved:
ITALIAN secret agents warned of a massacre in Spain almost four weeks ago, it was claimed last night.
A former colonel in the Iraqi army masterminded last week’s attacks in Madrid, say sources in Italy”s secret service SISMI.
Agents tipped off Spain that the colonel had instructed a suspected al-Qaeda cell in Madrid of up to 15 Moroccans, including Jamal Zougam, 30, who is under arrest on suspicion of organising the train bombings.
But Spain apparently failed to step up surveillance, Italian newspaper Il Messagero said.
It also emerged Zougam, dubbed the Angel of Death, was known to have al-Qaeda links three years ago.
Spain found evidence “” but he was never arrested.
Meanwhile it is feared a suspected al-Qaeda chief in Britain may have helped to orchestrate the Madrid carnage “” from his cell in Belmarsh jail, South East London.
Fanatic cleric Abu Qatada, 43, who has been held for two years accused of funding terror operations, may be quizzed on whether he passed instructions to the bombers.