The Madrid Connection is a profound, two-year long investigation into the lives and motivations of the two men who became the leaders of the terrorist cell that committed the Madrid bombings of 2004, Europe’s worst ever terrorist atrocity, in which 191 people died and nearly 2000 were injured.Sarhane, “El Tunecino”, was a shy, angry economics PhD student. Jamal, “El Chino”, was a violent drug dealer. For a decade, they lived very different parallel lives in Spain before their paths crossed in late 2003, triggering a cascade of events that allowed–thanks to their very different lives–the plot to bomb the trains to slip through police investigations. The story begins in the early 90s and ends with the collective suicide of the terrorists a month after the bombings. The story is told with exclusive access to family and friends of terrorist leaders and to the police investigators.Credits:
A JWP production for BBC – Cuatro – TVC – DFI – TV2
In association with VPRO – SVT – SBS
Director: Justin Webster Executive Producers: Daniel Wolf and Claus Ladegaard Producer: Sumpta Ayuso and Mette Mailand Cinematography: Jim Loomis and Cosmo Campbell Second Unit Director: Steve Oliver Consultant: Ignacio Orovio Research: Rafael Logedo Editor: Jim Loomis Music: Albert Alay Executive Producers: Nick Fraser – JM Izquierdo – Joan Salvat – Dola Bonfils
“rivetingly told” – The Sunday Times
“a faultless piece of filmmaking” – The Daily Telegraph
“provides the keys to understanding Europe’s worst ever terrorist atrocity” – El País
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Conexión Madrid, the book
Five years after the Madrid bombings of 11 March, 2004, this book recreates the parallel lives of the two men who led the terrorist cell that committed the worst terrorist attack of Europe’s history: Jamal Ahmidan and Sarhane ben Abdelmajid Fakhet.
The eventual meeting of these two very different Muslim immigrants – who had both lived in Spain since the early 90’s – just six months before the bombing, was to trigger the plan that led to the atrocity. After nearly three years of investigation, Justin Webster and Ignacio Orovio have reconstructed a detailed narrative of their lives over a decade – one, “El Chino”, a violent Moroccan exjunky turned successful drug dealer, the other “El Tunecino”, an alienated, religious intellectual – tracing the route to the bombing, through the two very different worlds of backstreet crime, and religious fanaticism. Through detailed analysis of court documents, research in Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey, Holland and Britain as well as Spain, and, above all, exclusive testimony of family, friends and colleagues, this is the fullest account of the circumstances and motivations that turned two men into pitiless, charismatic Jihadi terrorists. The Madrid Connection is also an insight into the running debate between extremists and moderates in Islamic circles in Madrid, and the rest of Europe, over these years, and puts Jamal and Sarhane’s lives into context in contemporary jihadism and the international political events that influenced the plot. It represents the deepest investigation to date into an attack that shook Spanish, and European society, and became a landmark in the history of Jihadist terror.