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Iraq: Spaniards, Japanese Killed In Separate Attacks

Baghdad, 30 November 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Seven Spaniards and two Japanese have died in separate attacks in Iraq. Spanish Defense Minister Federico Trillo said seven Spanish intelligence agents were killed yesterday in an attack on their unmarked vehicles south of Baghdad. He said another agent was slightly wounded in the attack by insurgents who used rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has been one of the strongest supporters of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, despite domestic opposition.

In Japan, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said two Japanese who may have been diplomats were killed in an apparent ambush near Tikrit, hometown of Iraq's ousted leader Saddam Hussein, 175 kilometers north of Baghdad.

Reports of the attacks came as the top military commander in Iraq, U.S. Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, said attacks against U.S. forces had fallen sharply in recent weeks. He said the reduction is a result of more aggressive tactics by U.S. forces.

His comments came as the Pentagon said at least 75 U.S. soldiers had been killed in Iraq in November, the worst month so far for casualties in the U.S.-led coalition.