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Seven Spanish agents killed in Iraq

An ambulance leaves the scene of an abush Saturday that killed at least six Spanish intelligence agents.
An ambulance leaves the scene of an abush Saturday that killed at least six Spanish intelligence agents.

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CNN's Walter Rodgers reports on recent events in Iraq, including the deaths of seven Spanish intelligence agents.
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Military Intelligence

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Seven Spanish intelligence agents were killed in an ambush south of Baghdad Saturday evening, according to official sources.

"Seven agents of the National Intelligence Center have been assassinated. An eighth has survived," Defense Minister Federico Trillo said in a brief, grim statement heard by Spaniards on nationwide TV.

The ambush took place near Suwayrah, 30 miles south of Baghdad, on the main highway connecting Baghdad to Hillah. Rajiv Chandrasekaran, a Washington Post reporter in Iraq

Three bodies lay in the road and two in the median, he said. Others at the scene said there were two additional bodies in a burned vehicle. One of the Spaniards is missing, the defense ministry spokesperson said.

Witnesses said a group of one or two cars of insurgents were following the Spaniards, who were in two four-wheel drive vehicles. Gunmen in the cars and on the side of the road fired on the Spaniards. A 30-minute firefight followed, witnesses said. They said seven were killed and an eighth person escaped.

In October, a Spanish diplomat attached to Spain's intelligence agency was shot and killed near his residence. The diplomat, Jose Antonio Bernal Gomez, 30, lived outside a secure area.

Spain -- which has about 1,300 troops in Iraq stationed in the Polish-controlled sector of the country between Baghdad and Basra -- withdrew a half dozen of its staff earlier this month not long after the incident.

Those workers were sent to Jordan while housing for members of the Spanish mission was moved to a more secure location.

August 19, a Spanish naval officer was killed in the bombing of the U.N. headquarters in August. Manuel Martin-Oar survived the blast but died later from wounds and internal injuries.

The vast majority of people in Spain have been opposed to the war in Iraqi, despite the government's support of the U.S.-led effort.

CNN's Al Goodman contributed to this report

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