Spanish Base Attacked in Najaf

  • Author: News Agencies
  • Publish date:16/04/2004
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The Spanish military base has come under attack following clashes between Spanish forces and unidentified assailants, Aljazeera's correspondent in Najaf has reported. The attack was part of an intense fire-fight. The assailants fired five mortar's shells on the central base of the Spanish, Salvadorian and US forces. The attack was followed by more than 15 minutes of armed confrontation while F-16 warplanes were hovering over the area. Military officials in Najaf declined to give any details about the attack and the bulk of losses among the occupation forces. "In Najaf, there were three bases, northern, central and southern. Occupation forces prevented journalists and reporters to approach these bases, they guarded and prevented travelling in the nearby area during the night," Aljazeera's correspondent said. ***Spanish PM maintains pledge to withdraw troops from Iraq*** Spain's incoming Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has reiterated his campaign promise to withdraw troops from Iraq in a major speech to parliament. The Socialist leader outlined a government that in most respects would be the polar opposite to that of departing premier Jose Maria Aznar. Zapatero was speaking ahead of a vote today, which will most probably bring him to office: "I'll tell you what my government is going to do about Iraq: remove Spain from the illegal and unjust war that it caused," Zapatero told parliament. Aznar's conservative government strongly backed the US-led war in Iraq, and has deployed 1,300 troops there. While upholding a pledge to withdraw them unless the UN takes over by June 30th, Zapatero said his government's first objective would be to fight terrorism in all its forms. Popular Party leader Mariano Rajoy said the government would have his party's support in its fight against terror, but warned Zapatero: "You don't have our trust, but you and the Spanish people can count on our sense of responsibility." Zapatero is expected to be officially sworn in to office by King Juan Carlos in a ceremony on Saturday. **PHOTO CAPTION*** Spanish soldiers attend a ceremony during the handover of control of the Iraqi holy city of Najaf, from the U.S. Marines to a Spanish brigade, September 23,2003. (Laszlo Balogh/Reuters)

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