1985 El Descanso bombing

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1985 El Descanso bombing
Location El Descanso restaurant, Madrid, Spain
Date 12 April 1985
22:30 (UTC+1)
Attack type
Deaths 18
Non-fatal injuries
Suspected perpetrator
Islamic Jihad Organization

On April 12, 1985, the El Descanso restaurant in Madrid, Spain was bombed in a terrorist attack. The explosion caused the three-story building to collapse, crashing down on about 200 diners and employees, killing 18 people and injuring 82 others, including fifteen Americans working at the nearby Torrejón Air Base who frequented the restaurant.[1][2][3] At the time it was the worst attack in Spain since the Spanish Civil War.[1][2]


Spanish Interior Minister José Barrionuevo held the Islamic Jihad Organization, which itself claimed responsibility, responsible for the bombing.[1][3][4] The police investigation concluded that the explosion was caused by a 13-pound chloratite bomb planted near the bathroom of the restaurant, consisting of a chemical compound made up of potassium, sulfur and chlorate, a type of explosive said to be rarely used by domestic Spanish terrorist groups.[1][3]

Islamic Jihad had been implicated in several attacks in Spain the previous year, including a machinegun attack on a Kuwaiti newspaper publisher and the killing and wounding of two Saudi Arabians, both attacks in Marbella, and the shooting of a Libyan embassy employee in Madrid.[2]

The case was closed in 1987 due to a lack of arrests. In 2005, Spain requested the alleged al-Qaeda operative and writer Mustafa Setmariam Nasar's extradition from Pakistan for his alleged role in the bombing after a witness report following Nasar being a suspect in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.[5][6]

The attack has been attributed to Hezbollah through its affiliated Islamic Jihad Organization, as part of a series of attacks in Europe in the mid-1980s, including the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 from Athens, bombings in Copenhagen, and a series of bombings in Paris.[7] The Syrian government has also been implicated due to its support to terrorist groups including Islamic Jihad.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d "Islamic Jihad suspected in terrorist blast". UPI. April 14, 1985. 
  2. ^ a b c Pandey, Satish Chandra (2003). International Terrorism and the Contemporary World. Sarup & Sons. p. 184. ISBN 9788176256384. 
  3. ^ a b c "Spain Names Islamic Jihad In Bombing". Washington Post. April 15, 1985. 
  4. ^ Walker, Jane. "Spanish bomb blast blamed on Jihad / Madrid restaurant explosion blamed on Muslim group." The Guardian, April 15, 1985.
  5. ^ "Al-Qaeda suspect linked to 1985 Madrid bombing". Retrieved 28 November 2016. 
  6. ^ Spain seeks extradition of terrorist suspect from Pakistan. Indo-Asian News Service, November 10, 2005.
  7. ^ Levitt, Matthew (2015). Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God. Georgetown University Press. p. 58. ISBN 9781626162013. 
  8. ^ Friedman, Saul S. (2006). A History of the Middle East. McFarland. p. 305. ISBN 9780786451340. 

Coordinates: 40°27′00.0″N 3°28′59.0″W / 40.450000°N 3.483056°W / 40.450000; -3.483056