A bomb was found on a Spanish high-speed rail track yesterday and state radio reported it contained the same type of dynamite used in suspected al Qaeda bombs that killed 191 people on Madrid trains last month. The discovery disrupted travel as millions of Spaniards prepared to leave cities for the Easter week holidays and came on the day a new session of Parliament opened following last month's elections. The bomb and the discovery on Thursday evening of three letter bombs addressed to media outlets kept nerves on edge in Spain after the shock caused by the March 11 train attacks. Interior Minister Angel Acebes said the latest bomb was believed to contain between 10 and 12 kgs (22 and 26 lbs) of explosives, which were connected by a long cable to a detonator. He gave no information about who may have planted the bomb. State radio said a first examination indicated the dynamite used was Goma 2 Eco - the same kind used in the Madrid blasts. The bomb was found in a bag under the rails of the high-speed train line connecting Madrid and the southern city of Seville. It was spotted by a railway employee about 60 kms (35 miles) south of Madrid, near the city of Toledo. Authorities were alerted and sent explosives experts who defused the device. A Reuters reporter at the scene said the bomb had been in a hole close to where the road crosses the track. Yesterday marked the start of one of the busiest travel periods in the year in Spain. Millions of Spaniards leave cities for the Easter week holidays.
Seville draws huge crowds for its Easter processions. The AVE service whisks passengers from Madrid to Seville in a little over two hours and is one of the jewels of the Spanish rail network. Services on the line were halted while all the track was checked, Acebes said. On March 11, two of the trains exploded at or near Madrid's Atocha station, which is also the terminus for AVE services to Seville.
The Madrid attacks were the first in the West linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network since the September 11, 2001, strikes on New York and Washington. Yesterday's bomb was found as members of parliament elected in Spain's March 14 election took their seats in Madrid. The Socialists ousted the ruling Popular Party in an election upset three days after the March 11 bombings.
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