Sonia Cano was a very active young woman: she worked in an old people’s home in Madrid, went to a gym, attended dance classes and always had time to go out partying with her friends. On the morning of 11 March, she was killed in the train that was blown up alongside Calle Téllez. The members of the emergency services that had been set up at the IFEMA exhibition centre showed her father a photograph of her, but he refused to believe that it was her. Eventually, Sonia’s body was identified by her brother. “This is a surreal year,” she had told a friend on the night before the attacks.
11 March 2004 fell on a Thursday. Early that morning, a number of terrorists with links to Al-Qaeda planted thirteen bombs on four suburban trains covering routes running through Madrid. Ten of the bombs exploded between 7.37 and 7.39 am, when the trains were at Atocha, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia stations and alongside Calle Téllez. 191 people were killed in the attack and around 1,500 were wounded. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in Spanish history. On 3 April 2004, agents from the Special Operations Group (GEO) were about to enter an apartment in Leganés where the perpetrators of the attacks were believed to be hiding when the terrorists detonated twenty kilograms of explosives in an act of collective suicide. The blast killed one of the officers, bringing the total number of people killed by the 11 March killers to 192.