In his youth, Manuel Eleuterio Liáñez Benítez had been an active member of the anarchist trade union CNT. However, by 1962 —the year he was killed— he had long since given up all trade union and political activity. Aged 71 and single, he was a loner with no close friends or family. He lived in a boarding house. The landlady later reported that he “was a rep for a liquor company”. She said he was “very friendly and polite” and “led a moderate life and never did anything out of the ordinary”. She had never heard him “talk about politics; on the contrary, he gave signs of being a devout Catholic”.
On 13 June 1962, Liáñez left the boarding house at 9:15 am. At 11:00 a.m. there was a large explosion on the central traffic island where Manuel Eleuterio Liáñez was standing, opposite the offices of the National Welfare Institute. Manuel suffered the loss of both hands, as well as burns and puncture wounds to the torso and head. He died as a result of his injuries. Two other people suffered minor injuries in the attack.
The initial hypothesis was that he had been carrying a bomb that had gone off prematurely, but this was soon ruled out. The investigating judge noted that the victim “most probably saw the device in a briefcase, without knowing what it was. As a poor beggar, he picked it up and was rummaging in the briefcase to see the contents, when the bomb went off causing his death”. This was accepted as being the valid explanation. In fact, however the briefcase was not stolen, but belonged to Liáñez himself.
The police never arrested the perpetrators of the attack. Although their identity is unknown, it has been established that they belonged to a terrorist group calling itself Defensa Interior (DI) (Domestic Defence). Created in 1962 by the FAI, the CNT and Juventudes Libertarias, the organization used violent means to try to overthrow the Franco dictatorship. In 1963, two of its members were executed and it dissolved in 1965. The only “success” of the anarchist DI had been to accidentally murder a former anarcho-syndicalist, Manuel Eleuterio Liáñez Benítez.