So much for the notion that political concessions — such as withdrawing from Iraq — would make Spain safe from al-Qaedist terror strikes. A month after the Madrid bombings, the newly elected Socialist government withdrew Spanish forces from Iraq, adding “The war [in Iraq] has been a disaster [and] the occupation continues to be a disaster. It has only generated violence.” Bin Laden later hailed this move as a “positive initiative,” adding his famous line “reciprocal treatment is part of justice,” implying that, now that Spain has stopped “oppressing” Muslims, they are no longer a target. Apparently that’s no the case; after all, al-Andalus is still part of the umma and needs “cleansing.”
Spain remains Al-Qaeda target: report,” from the AFP, October 20:
MADRID – Spain’s remains a target for Al-Qaeda four years after the Madrid bombings that killed 191 people, the intelligence service said in a report quoted by a Spanish newspaper Monday.
“The counter-terrorist activities by the state security forces since the March 11, 2004 attacks shows that Spain remains a target of the Al-Qaeda network and its allies as well as a source of human resources,” the intelligence service said in a report, a copy of which was seen by the El Pais daily.
“Al-Qaeda has not lost sight of the global jihad and, in exchanges with the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), it has told them to quickly attack local targets and reminds them that their real goal is to cross into Al Andalus,” it said.
Al Andalus is the Arabic name for the parts of the Iberian peninsula that were under Muslim, or Moorish, control for almost 800 years until the late 15th century.
The GSPC last year changed its name to Al-Qaeda’s Branch in the Islamic Maghreb.
In September 2007, Al-Qaeda number two Ayman al-Zawahiri called for Al Andalus to be restored to the Islamic world, saying the first step needs to be the “cleansing” of Spaniards and French from the Maghreb.
The Al-Qaeda inspired bombings on four packed commuter trains on March 11, 2004 killed 191 people and wounded hundreds of others.
Spanish courts last year ordered 21 people jailed for life over the attacks. Four have since been acquitted after appeals.
Spanish police last week arrested 12 north Africans suspected of links to the bombings.