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Officer's body burnt in 'Islamic revenge'

Officer's body burnt in 'Islamic revenge'

Author: Isambard Wilkinson in Madrid
Publication: The Daily Telegrahp, UK
Date: April 20, 2004

The body of a police special forces officer who died when Islamic terrorists blew themselves up in Madrid was taken from its grave, mutilated and burnt yesterday.

The coffin and body of special agent Francisco Javier Torronteras were pulled from the tomb in Madrid Sur cemetery in Carabanchel and pushed 1,000 yards in a wheelbarrow before being doused with petrol and set alight. The body was found with a pick driven into its head and a spade dug into its chest.

Although no motive was immediately apparent, police speculated that it could be the work of sympathisers of the Moroccan terrorist group that carried out the train bomb attacks in the Spanish capital on March 11, killing 192 people and injuring 1,900. The interior ministry said the act of desecration could have been part of "an Islamic rite of revenge".

Agent Torronteras, 41, was killed leading a Special Operations Group team to dislodge terrorists suspected of the Madrid massacre last month. The seven terrorists blew themselves up in a flat in the Madrid suburb of Leganes a fortnight ago as police moved in to arrest them, injuring 11 other policemen. At least three had been accused of the railway bombings. Police said the attack on the grave was carried out by at least two people who prised the marble headstone off with a jemmy.

Security was strengthened at the cemetery, where the smell of burning still lingered yesterday afternoon. Police have provisionally charged 18 people over the railway bombings. 4 April 2004: Policeman and three terror suspects die as bomb explosion rocks Madrid.

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