2004 Madrid Bombings, Iran – Additions as of May 11, 2008

Again this week, most of the new entries in the 9/11 Timeline focus on the 2004 Madrid bombings. Shortly after 9/11, investigators linked together a cell in Madrid, London-based cleric Abu Qatada, and the "Hamburg Cell", and Spanish police monitored a house where the Madrid bombers would later build the bombs. They failed to arrest the bombers for common crimes they committed, but focused on one of the bombers' apartments, and increased surveillance of them in spring 2003. Shortly before the attacks, Spanish intelligence linked one of bombing masterminds to an al-Qaeda suicide bomber, and is alleged to have knowledge of the deal in which the bombers purchased the explosives used in the attacks. Indeed, the bombers, including the one that transported to the explosives to Madrid, made numerous calls that were monitored by the authorities.

After the bombings, the outgoing Spanish government wiped records about an attempt to blame Basque separatists, while the police ignored an informant's tip, and failed to search the house where the bombs were built, allowing key suspects to escape. The government also announced the arrest of one of the bombers, causing others to flee, and actually called one of the bombers in hiding, which they later attempted to cover up. Arrest warrants were finally issued in late March, and preparations began for a raid on one of the bombers' hideouts, where seven of the bombers blew themselves up, apparently after getting permission to do so from Abu Qatada. One of the bombers was later shown to be linked to a government bomb squad, and an informant exposed a plot to bomb the high court in Madrid.

Some new entries add to the section about alleged low-level co-operation between Iran and al-Qaeda. According to the 9/11 Commission, some of the 9/11 hijackers traveled through Iran before the attacks. However, there is some evidence contradicting these claims.

Miscellaneous entries point out that preparations were underway for President Bush's later arrival at the Pentagon about an hour before it was hit on 9/11, and that emergency responders there experienced communication problems. A former Indonesian military officer is reported to have confessed a role in the 2002 Bali bombings, and a Saudi government charity linked to the attacks remained open. Finally, Alec Station, the CIA's bin Laden unit, halted operations linked to al-Qaeda's Malaysia summit around January 15, 2000.

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