Iraq guerrilla leaders held over Spanish deaths
11 December 2003
MADRID – Two leaders of an Iraqi guerrilla group were among those arrested by coalition forces in Iraq in connection with the killing of seven Spanish intelligence officers near Baghdad, Spanish Defence Ministry sources said Thursday.
The suspects were among 41 guerrillas detained in a sweep by US, British, Spanish and Polish troops and Iraqi police on Wednesday in the town of Latifiya where the eight Spaniards were ambushed on 29 November.
Seven of the intelligence agents were killed and one was wounded by escaped from a lynch-mob.
Defence Minister Federico Trillo named the two leaders of the guerilla group as Abu Abdallah and his second-in-command, As Salat.
Trillo said that among those arrested in the raids were the group’s intelligence officer, finance chief and a doctor who treated guerrillas wounded in clashes with coalition forces.
The detainees are being held by the US military, defence ministry sources said.
In the raids, the coalition soldiers discovered AK-47 assault rifles, heavy machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers which may have been used in the ambush, according to the sources.
The members of Spain’s National Intelligence Agency (CNI) were attacked while traveling in two vehicles south of Bagdad.
On Wednesday, Trillo announced the arrest in Iraq over the weekend of five suspects wanted for the murder in Baghdad of Spanish embassy attache Jose Antonio Bernal, also a CNI member.
The defence minister told a Parliamentary commission that the five were currently being questioned by Iraqi judicial authorities in connection with Bernal’s murder on 9 October.
Ten Spaniards have been killed in various incidents in Iraq. A Spanish Navy officer died in the August car-bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad.
Spain heads the five-nation Plus Ultra Brigade in Iraq. It comprises 1,300 Spanish soldiers as well as troop contingents from El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news