Shot officer in ‘irreversible coma’
23 January 2004
MADRID – A Spanish officer who was shot in a gun-battle in Iraq was in an ‘irreversible coma’, Defence Ministry officials said Friday.
The officer, who was being flown back from Iraq to Madrid Friday, has not improved since he sustained head wounds during the shoot-out with Iraqi terrorists Thursday.
Civil Guard Commander Gonzalo Pérez García was to be accompanied on his homeward journey by two of his brothers, the commander-in-chief of the Civil Guard, Santiago Lopez Valdivieso, and a team of doctors who were flown with them to Baghdad.
In Madrid, Defence Ministry sources confirmed that the officer was in a “deep and irreversible coma”.
“His condition is stable. But we know that between 24 and 48 hours afterwards, there is often a sudden rise in blood pressure, at which point, everything is touch and go,” said López Valdivieso.
“This shows the importance of the role that the Civil Guard may be called on to play in situations such as Iraq,” added the head of Spain’s militarised rural police force.
Pérez García was one of two Civil Guard officers attached as security specialists to the “Plus Ultra” brigade in which 1,300 Spanish troops are joined by 1,200 soldiers from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
He was wounded during an overnight raid Thursday in the village of Hamsa, some 40km. south of Diwaniya, where the Plus Ultra brigade is based, the Ministry said in a statement.
Members of the brigade’s Tactical Group were supporting Iraqi police in a middle-of-the-night raid on the home of a suspected terrorist leader, which proved to be deserted.
Pérez and two Iraqi policemen remained behind to finish the search after the other personnel left.
A short time later, a car pulled up in front of the building only to drive away at speed when its occupants saw that security personnel were present.
The Spaniard and the two Iraqis immediately set off in pursuit and the suspected terrorists opened fire, wounding Perez and one of the two Iraqis that were closing in on them.
[copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news