Iraq: Seven Spanish soldiers, two Japnese diplomats killed in attacks

Published November 29th, 2003 - 02:00 GMT

A Spanish official on Saturday night said seven soldiers were killed and one wounded south of Baghdad.  


The Spanish Defense Ministry said a team of eight soldiers attached to an intelligence unit was attacked around the city of Hillah, some 50 kilometers south of Baghdad, as it returned from a mission. 


A Spanish helicopter that reached the scene of the attack evacuated six bodies and one wounded person to a medical center, official announcements said. Later, Spanish media reported seven were killed in this incident. 


A television cameraman for Sky News who drove by the scene at 5:15 p.m., shortly after the attack, said he saw two destroyed vehicles - one still burning - and four bodies on the road.  


The cameraman described a jubilant crowd kicking the bodies. He told The Associated Press some in the crowd said the bodies belonged to CIA. Eyewitnesses told him attackers had captured two Spanish soldiers.  


Meanwhile, two Japanese nationals, who may have been diplomats, were also shot dead and their driver seriously wounded Saturday in a separate ambush near Tikrit, the foreign ministry in Tokyo said.  


Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi disclosed that their vehicle was attacked near Tikrit, where the envoys were to attend an aid conference. "The two were working day and night for the reconstruction of Iraq," Kawaguchi said at a news conference. "Their deaths are extremely regrettable. I am at a loss for words." (

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