The day of the Madrid train bombings – level 3


On March 11, 2004 in the morning, thousands of Madrid residents are getting on commuter trains and, as usual, travelling to work or school.

At 7:37, three bombs explode in one of the trains. Within a few minutes, bombs explode in three other trains. Chaos breaks out. Dead bodies are lying around the tracks. There is smoke everywhere and there are screams.

Ambulances from near and far immediately start coming to the explosion sites, but many people can no longer be helped. The death toll is gradually rising, stopping at 193. More than 2,000 people are injured.

An extensive investigation is immediately launched, during which it is discovered that men from North Africa are behind the attacks. 21 terrorists are arrested. Some of them are then sentenced to up to 40 years in prison.

Many people in Spain think that the biggest terrorist attack in Spanish history could be for revenge for Spain’s participation in the war in Iraq.

The next elections in Spain are won by a party that wants to withdraw the soldiers from Iraq. Indeed, they are withdrawn from Iraq a few months after the elections.

Difficult words: commuter train (a train for travelling to work in a city), break out (to start), track (the two metal lines for trains), toll (a number of something), launch (to start), sentence (to send to prison as a punishment), revenge (to hit somebody because they hit you), elections (when people choose their government), withdraw (to leave a place), indeed (really).

What underlying motivations do you think the Spanish government and people had for engaging in the Iraq war?


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