Madrid, 5 April 2004 (RFE/RL) -- A group claiming responsibility for the 11 March Madrid bombings sent a letter to a Spanish newspaper over the weekend threatening to turn the country into an "inferno" if it does not halt its support for the United States and pull its forces out of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The handwritten fax in Arabic was received by the daily "ABC" just hours before five Madrid bombing suspects blew themselves up yesterday in an apartment outside the Spanish capital to avoid police capture.
The government believes the blast killed two of the alleged ringleaders of the 11 March bombings, but says two or three suspects may have escaped.
A government spokesman says the fax has some credibility. It was signed by Abu Dujana al-Afgani, the same person who claimed responsibility in a video for the 11 March train bombings that killed 191 people.
It gives 4 April as a deadline for Spain to withdraw its support for the United States and troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, or else the country will be turned "into an inferno and your blood will flow like rivers."
Both the fax and the video claim to be from Al-Qaeda in Europe.