THE British Consul to the Balearics Mike Banham was lost for words yesterday. “It's appalling, it's shocking,” he said. “How can you describe something like this, hundreds killed and injured, it beggars belief. “It's beyond me how someone could carry out such an atrocity. Whatever one's personal beliefs there is absolutely no justification for this indiscriminate slaughter,” Banham said. The British Consul has worked for the British government in many of the world's “terrorist hot spots” prior to coming to Majorca but he admitted yesterday that never has an attack on such a scale been carried out in any of his previous postings. “Apart from New York and Bali, this is the worst,” he said.
Palma consulate staff were keeping a close eye on the television news; a close friend of a consulate employee was on one of the trains involved in the blast. The Consul was receiving regular e-mails and updates from the Embassy in Madrid yesterday. He said that Madrid Consular staff had been deployed to the disaster scenes and hospitals across the Spanish capital to investigate if any UK citizens had been caught in the blast. The Consul's advice to Britons planning on coming to Spain and the Balearics is to keep an eye on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice which is posted on their web site.

Yesterday it stated “you should be alert to the activities of the Basque terrorist group ETA who recently renewed their threat to attack the Spanish tourist industry in 2004. There is a general threat in Spain to Western, including British, targets from terrorism.”

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