Morale in secret service high despite murders
7 January 2004
MADRID – The detachment of Spanish intelligence agents in Iraq is operating at near full strength once again despite the murder last year of seven officers, military sources said Wednesday.
The seven CNI officers were killed in an ambush last November by pro-Saddam partisans.
Graphic television pictures of Iraqis apparently gloating over their corpses were shown on Spanish television, shocking the nation.
The funerals of CNI officers were shown live on television and prime minister Jose Maria Aznar declared a national day of mourning.
Military sources said that for each of the seven officers killed in the gun battle in the city of Latifya near Baghdad, between 24 and 41 volunteers had come forward and applied to replace them.
Sources said this was a sign that morale in the CNI remains high.
They added that the Iraqi unit will be fully operative once the last few CNI agents selected for the mission have finished their training to replace the seven who were killed.
In October, a senior CNI officer who had been present in Iraq since before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein regime was assassinated at the door of his Baghdad home.
Their deaths, along with those of naval officer killed in the August bombing of U.N. headquarters in Baghdad and a soldier who died in an accident, brought the number of Spanish casualties in Iraq to ten.
Although Spain did not take part in the US-led invasion, the controversial support of the Aznar government for the war brought mass demonstrations at home.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news