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Security high for Spanish trains

From Al Goodman
CNN Madrid Bureau Chief

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Spanish police work at the site where a bomb was found Friday.

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Bomb found on Spanish rail line may be linked to March 11 Madrid attacks, officials say.
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MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Spain's state rail system has resumed its bullet train service, a day after a bomb was discovered under high-speed rail tracks between Madrid and Seville.

Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes said the explosives were apparently made from the same material used in last month's deadly terrorist attacks on the capital's commuter train system.

The Civil Guard, alerted to the bomb by a railway employee, defused it.

The state rail system RENFE halted the bullet trains on the Madrid-to-Seville route when the bomb was found, putting thousands of passengers on hold at the beginning of the week-long Easter holiday.

The railway said it was getting passengers to their destinations by road whenever possible.

A RENFE official said Saturday the bullet trains had extra cars to accomodate the stranded passengers.

Acebes said the trains were halted while authorities conduct a "kilometer by kilometer" search of the rails.

He also said that a "permanent" monitoring system would be put in place for the tracks, staffed by members of the military, police, Civil Guard and RENFE security.

A spokesman for the Civil Guard national headquarters in Madrid told CNN a bag containing the bomb was found along the tracks near the town of Villaseca de la Sagra, in Toledo province about 65 km (40 miles) south of Madrid.

Acebes said the bomb contained 10 to 12 kg (22 to 26 pounds) of what appeared to be the Spanish-made Goma 2 Eco explosive -- used in the Madrid bombings and widely used in mining concerns -- and was connected to a detonator by a 136-meter (446-foot) cable, Acebes said.

But the device lacked an initiator, the minister said, speculating that whoever placed the bomb had to flee before finishing the work.

The Madrid bombs -- 10 bombs in backpacks placed on four trains in three stations -- were detonated March 11 by cell phones attached to the explosives.

Civil Guards search the rail line.

The blasts killed 190 people and wounded more than 1,800. A Moroccan extremist group with connections to al Qaeda is under investigation for that attack.

The bullet trains -- Spain's fastest, able to reach speeds up to 300 km/h (186 mph) -- have been in service since 1992 on the 417 km (259-mile) Madrid-to-Seville route.

It was the first of Spain's rail routes to be converted to the high-speed trains, cutting the travel time from six hours to two and a half.

Meanwhile, a Spanish judge on Friday jailed a Moroccan man and released two Syrians and a Spaniard who had been detained in connection with the Madrid train bombings last month.

National Court Judge Juan del Olmo also Friday freed another Moroccan but ordered him to report daily to police, a court spokeswoman said. (Full story)

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