Spain, Japan vow to continue in Iraq

MADRID, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Spain and Japan, after suffering causalities in Iraq, vowed to keep up their reconstruction efforts there, the BBC reported Sunday.

Spain's prime minister said his country will keep 1,300 troops in Iraq despite the "great pain" caused by the killing of seven Spanish intelligence agents Saturday in an ambush.


"The seven lost their lives doing their duty as professional soldiers, good soldiers working for peace and security," said Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a key European member of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. "Freedom is under threat from the terrorists."

Japan, which lost two diplomats in a separate ambush near Tikrit, also pledged "not to give in to terrorism" and to maintain its efforts in humanitarian aid and reconstruction.

"Why does this kind of thing happen?" Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said in Tokyo. "I am furious."

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