MADRID -- A ball of fire erupts from a train car, smothering commuters with smoke, and littering the platform with bodies and blood in a chilling security-camera videotape of the March 11 train bombings broadcast yesterday by a Spanish station.
The video, taken at Madrid's Atocha station and aired by Telecinco, is believed to be the first public broadcast of images from the bombings that killed 191 people. Telecinco also broadcast video showing an armed, masked Islamic militant claiming responsibility for the attacks on behalf of Al Qaeda. The video was found near a mosque in the days after the attacks.
Also yesterday, Interior Minister Jose Antonio Alonso said a radical Muslim cell broken up this week by police had been plotting to bomb the National Court, a hub of Spain's investigations of Islamic terrorism.
''This was an operation against radical Muslims. They were planning to commit terrorist attacks," Alonso told reporters at Parliament.
The video of the March 11 attacks begins after one bomb has exploded, with dazed commuters milling about on a smoke-shrouded platform. The time on the tape says 7:38 a.m.
Then, smoke flows toward the camera, and people on the platform are knocked over -- apparently by another blast. About five seconds later, a ball of orange flames erupts from a stopped train, filling the screen. The tape includes no sound, just images.
The video appeared to have been taken from atop an escalator, looking down onto the platform. Four minutes later, bodies are seen strewn on the platform amid puddles of blood. Police and emergency medical staffers attend to them.
After another five minutes, police and crews are seen screaming for people to evacuate the station and police are seen running toward the escalator in fear of another explosion. Telecinco said this warning turned out to be a false alarm.
Telecinco also broadcast two other pieces of March 11 video that had not been aired publicly, although their existence was known.
One shows an armed masked militant, speaking in Arabic, claiming responsibility for the attacks on behalf of Al Qaeda. The video was found near a mosque on the eve of Spain's March 14 general election.
''We claim responsibility for the Madrid attacks, 2 years after the blessed conquests of New York and Washington," the man said, according to Telecinco's translation. He was referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
In the other video, made March 27, three hooded men wearing belts that appeared to be loaded with dynamite cartridges threaten more attacks against Spain unless it withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.
Those three are believed to have been ringleaders of the March 11 bombing cell and among seven suspects who blew themselves up in an apartment outside Madrid on April 3 as police prepared to storm it.
The original video was found among the rubble of the apartment. The government had said it was badly damaged, and reconstructed it.
Seven suspects were arrested Monday in Madrid and southern Spain. An eighth was detained yesterday in Pamplona, the interior minister said. The alleged leader of the cell, Mohamed Achraf of United Arab Emirates, was arrested recently in Switzerland on a request from Spain, a Spanish police official said.