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CNN LIVE SATURDAY

Ambush Kills Spanish Intellicence Agents

Aired November 29, 2003 - 12:02   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN ANCHOR: But, we begin with the latest violence in Iraq as we reported. Spanish intelligence agents are dead in an ambush. No coalition troops were involved. The attack comes as the U.S. military reports November has been the deadliest month for U.S. troops since the war began. For more, we go live to Baghdad and CNN's Walter Rodgers.
Walter, hello. Do we know if these intelligence agents were targeted or if this was a random attack?

WALTER RODGERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I think the suspicion is that they were targeted. This is not the first time a Spanish intelligence official has come under attack, on was killed in October. But again, there is more tragedy here, tonight. A group of Spanish intelligence officers were moving al Hillah, which is south of Baghdad, traveling to Baghdad tonight, they were ambushed. The Spanish government is not confirming casualties, but EFE, the Spanish news agency, says at least two members of that intelligence unit were killed and there are unofficial coalition reports that number could go higher.

The U.S. Army, earlier today, released new statistics to bolster its case that the tide of battle is now going the American's way. Among those statistics, the Army claims that attacks against U.S. soldiers in Baghdad were down 70 percent this past week, and nationwide over the past two weeks the U.S. Army says attacks against coalition forces were down 30 percent. That does not however, avoid the very telling statistic that November was the deadliest month in the war for U.S. forces in the last less than 30 days, 79 U.S. soldiers were killed, 68 of those were in hostile action and things are getting even worse for Iraqi civilians.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LT. GEN. RICARDO SNACHEZ, COALITION GROUND CMDR.: Attacks on civilian and Iraqi security forces have more than doubled. In the 32 days since the beginning of Ramadan, the enemy has conducted 74 attacks against civilian or Iraqi government officials and 82 attacks against the Iraqi security forces.

It is clear that the strategy is one to intimidate the Iraqi people, to keep them from embracing a free and democratic country. It is an attempt to isolate the Iraqi people from the progress that is being made across the country and from the initiatives that are being advocated by the coalition. The Iraqi people have committed to this path. They are not going to allow the return of this repressive regime that has been ousted from power and I think that is a strategy mistake that has been made by our enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

RODGERS: Perhaps by way of footnote, General Sanchez also said that since the war began, the coalition, the U.S. Army has not found a single al-Qaeda fighter here in Iraq. He said that the bulk of the opposition to U.S. forces continues to be Saddam loyalists and Iraqi nationalists. You'll recall one of the razondetras (PH) for the Bush- led war in Iraq was that this was a -- had become a hotbed of al-Qaeda terrorism. Again, the Army, seven months into the war has not found a single al-Qaeda terrorist and the Army somewhat embarrassedly had to admit, again today, they still can't find Saddam Hussein -- Kelly.

WALLACE: Walter, thank you. CNN's Walter Rodgers with the latest in Baghdad for us, today.

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