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Terrorism in Spain has been committed by various groups and people.



There have been several phases of terrorism in Spain.

Spain was notably affected by a broader wave of anarchist terrorism that started in the late 19th century in Europe in connection to the notion of propaganda of the deed. Several of the perpetrators acting in Spain, such as Michele Angiolillo, Thioulouze, Tomás Ascheri or Girault, were actually foreign. Some of the terrorist attacks in this period include the 1893 Liceo bomb, the 1896 Corpus Christi bomb, or the magnicide of Cánovas del Castillo in 1897.[1] The botched assassination in Madrid of King Alfonso XIII at the Calle Mayor during his wedding left 33 casualties and many wounded.[2] Barcelona became infamous as fertile ground for bomb attacks in the early 20th century.[3] Bomb attacks started to fade within anarchism at the turn of the first decade of the century, giving place to new forms of political violence at a time anarchosyndicalism became more disciplined and acquired more features of a mass movement along the decade,[4] with the practice of pistolerismo appearing in the conflict between employers and trade unions. Magnicides in the early 20th century linked to anarcho-syndicalist terrorism such as individual assassination of two Prime Ministers (Canalejas in 1912 and Dato in 1921), as well as the Archbishop of Zaragoza, Juan Soldevilla, in 1923, happened at a time of scalation of violence during the decadence of the Restoration regime.[5]

From 1961-2011, the Basque separatist group ETA carried out more than 3300 attacks[6] with total deaths estimated to be 829 to 952.[7] During a similar period,[citation needed] far right terrorist groups were active, opposed to the Spanish transition to democracy. They caused from 66 to 95 deaths.[8][9][10]

In recent years, Al-Qaeda and then Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have been responsible for significant attacks in the country. This includes the single deadliest peacetime incident, the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 192 people.

Deadliest attacksEdit

The following is a list of terrorist incidents in Spain that resulted in at least ten deaths. It lists attacks on civilians by non-state actors that are widely referred to as terrorism. It excludes the periods of the Red and White Terrors during and after the Civil War.

Key: Group

  ETA   Jihadist   Anarchist   Other

Date Incident Casualties Perpetrator
7 Nov 1893 Gran Teatre del Liceu bombing 20+ killed, 40+ injured[11] Santiago Salvador Franch
7 Jun 1896 Barcelona Corpus Christi procession bombing 12 killed, 44 injured[11] Anarchists (suspected)
31 May 1906 Botched assassination of Alfonso XIII 30 killed, 100 injured[12] Mateo Morral Rocca
13 Sep 1974 Cafetería Rolando bombing 13 killed, 71 injured[13] ETA
12 Jul 1979 Hotel Corona de Aragón fire 80+ killed[14] ETA (suspected)
12 Apr 1985 El Descanso bombing 18 killed, 82 injured[15][16] Mustafa Setmariam (suspect)
14 Jul 1986 Plaza República Dominicana bombing 12 killed, 32 injured[17] ETA
19 Jun 1987 Hipercor bombing 21 killed, 45 injured[18] ETA
11 Dec 1987 Zaragoza Barracks bombing 11 killed, 88 injured[19] ETA
29 May 1991 Vic bombing 10 killed, 44 injured[20][21] ETA
11 Mar 2004 Madrid train bombings 192 killed, 2,050 injured[22][23] Al-Qaeda
17–18 Aug 2017 2017 Barcelona attacks 24 killed (inc. 8 perps.), 152 injured[24][25] Islamic State (suspected)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Casanova, Julián (2005). "Terror and Violence: The Dark Face of Spanish Anarchism". International Labor and Working-Class History (67): 82. doi:10.1017/s0147547905000098 .
  2. ^ Casanova 2005, p. 85.
  3. ^ Casanova 2005, p. 84.
  4. ^ Casanova 2005, pp. 86–87.
  5. ^ Calvo Prat, David Manuel (2019). "Francisco Ascaso y Los Solidarios: una acción continuada". Aportes. XXXIV (99): 151–192. ISSN 0213-5868.
  6. ^ "Datos significativos del conflicto vasco, 1968-2003". Eusko News (in Spanish). Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  7. ^ Núñez, Javier (21 February 2010). "Verdad eclipsada ('Eclipsed truth')" (in Spanish). Deia. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
  8. ^ Transición y represión política. Juan Manuel Olarieta Alberdi, Revista de estudios políticos, ISSN 0048-7694, Nº 70, 1990, pages 225-262
  9. ^ País, Ediciones El (21 March 2010). "Reportaje - Las otras víctimas". Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  10. ^ Las otras víctimas de una transición nada pacífica. Gonzalo Wilhelmi. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.
  11. ^ a b "Terrorism in Barcelona and Its Impact on Spanish Politics 1904-1909", by J. Romero Maura, Past & Present 1968, 41:130-183
  12. ^ Chaliand, Gérard; Blin, Arnaud (August 2007). The History of Terrorism: From Antiquity to Al Qaeda. University of California Press. ISBN 9780520247093.
  13. ^ Ediciones El País. "Atentado de la calle del Correo: un caso similar todavía no aclarado, El Pais, 27 May 1979". EL PAÍS. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  14. ^ "Civil Guard website listing the Civil Guard retired high rank member died in the fire as an ETA victim". Archived from the original on 2008-06-07.
  15. ^ Aizpeolea, Luis R. (18 April 2010). "El atentado terrorista más olvidado". El País.
  16. ^ "Al-Qaeda suspect linked to 1985 Madrid bombing". Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  17. ^ 25 años del atentado de la plaza de la República Dominicana, El Diario Montanes, 14 January 2017
  18. ^ "Bomb explodes in Barcelona". Los Angeles Times. 19 June 1987. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
  19. ^ El País: Zaragoza: cinco ataúdes blancos 2 August 2009 accessed 14 January 2017
  20. ^ "Timeline: Major ETA Attacks in Spain". Associated Press. 2015-03-25. Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  21. ^ (2009-06-13). "Vic (Barcelona) recordará hoy a las víctimas del atentado de ETA en su casa cuartel -". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-05-25.
  22. ^ " Documento: Auto del 11-M".
  23. ^ ZoomNews (in spanish) Archived 2015-03-15 at the Wayback Machine. The 192nd victim (Laura Vega) died in 2014, after a decade in coma in a hospital of Madrid. She was the last hospitalized injured person.
  24. ^ "Barcelona attack: Suspected van driver shot dead by police". BBC. 21 August 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2017.
  25. ^ Burgen, Stephen. "Spanish attacks death toll rises to 16 after woman dies in hospital". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 August 2017.