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Rodgers: 'They danced around the bodies of the dead'

CNN senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers
CNN senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers

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Walter Rodgers

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- November has been the deadliest month yet for coalition troops in Iraq, with 98 soldiers killed. In March, the previous month with the highest death toll, 91 coalition deaths were recorded.

On Saturday, seven Spanish intelligence agents were killed in an ambush south of Baghdad, according to the Spanish Defense Ministry. For details on the deaths and more on the situation in Iraq, anchor Kelly Wallace spoke to CNN senior international correspondent Walter Rodgers in Baghdad.

RODGERS: It happened about 30 miles south of Baghdad late in the afternoon, almost dusk. Two cars [carrying] Spanish intelligence agents ... were ambushed. Indeed, they were stalked first by other cars, and then the cars following them opened fire on their car. It was a coordinated ambush. Other shooters beside the road opened fire. One of the Spanish escaped the conflagration only to be shot as he ran away. His body was dragged back, and the Iraqis began gloating over it. Rajiv Chandrasekaran of The Washington Post spoke to several witnesses.

CHANDRASEKARAN: Several witnesses told [the] United States there was at least one, possibly two cars of Fedayeen who were following the two four-wheel-drive vehicles with the Spaniards and that the Fedayeen opened fire on the vehicles right near the open site where this all took place. And it appeared to have been a coordinated ambush.

What we were told is there were other people lying in wait on the side of the road that also opened fire on the two four-wheel-drive vehicles.

The witnesses said a very intense battle then ensued, with the occupants of at least one of the vehicles firing back.

RODGERS: The Iraqis reveled in the killing. They danced around the bodies of the dead Spaniards. They put their foot on them, kicked the bodies and looted them, according to eyewitnesses.

Actually, the Iraqis thought they had shot Americans, [and] some even were ... thinking they had shot and killed Israeli Mossad agents.

In the end, all of them gloated, shouting pro-Saddam Hussein slogans, and delighted in saying they were going to throw out the foreign occupiers of their country.

WALLACE: What are your sources telling you? Do they see a really coordinated shift from possible attacks on U.S. troops to attacks on allied troops as well as Iraqi security officers inside Iraq now?

RODGERS: Well, the attacks on coalition forces have been constant.

Remember about three weeks ago in Nasiriya, 17 Italians were killed. If you're part of the coalition, you are a target here.

Now, is this coordinated, there's no evidence yet, according to the top U.S. generals here. ... They suggest that there is regional coordination in some of these attacks.

Most of these attacks ... have been directed at U.S. and coalition forces, but increasingly now, it's the Iraqi people themselves, those who are seen as helping or cooperating with the Americans, who are becoming the victims of attacks.

Indeed, the attacks are down on U.S. soldiers, according to the latest statistics, and up ... by 100 percent ... on Iraqi civilians.

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