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The bodies of the Guardia Civil officers and their interpreter killed in Afghanistan yesterday arrive in Spain

Torrejón de Ardoz Air Base, Madrid, Thursday 26 August 2010

On Thursday morning in Torrejón, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero attended the arrival of the coffins carrying the three men killed during a terrorist attack in Afghanistan. Among the other authorities in attendance were the Minister for Defence, Carme Chacón, the Minister for Home Affairs, Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the President of the Autonomous Region of Madrid, Esperanza Aguirre, and the leader of the opposition party, Mariano Rajoy.

All three victims will be awarded the Medal for Military Merit with red distinction, the highest decoration that can be given to people who die during acts of heroism. Following two prayers for the dead, one Catholic and another Muslim, the authorities present in Torrejón conveyed their condolences to the families of the victims.
The bodies have now been moved to the Instituto Anatómico Forense [Forensic Anatomy Institute] to perform the autopsies. The bodies of the officers will be then be transferred to Logroño where the funerals will be held at seven o'clock on Thursday afternoon at the barracks of the unit to which they belonged. This ceremony will be presided over by the Prince and Princess of Asturias. The Minister for Home Affairs and the Minister for Defence will also be attending. The body of the interpreter will be transferred to Zaragoza, his city of residence.

The Guardia Civil [Spanish Civil Guard] officers who lost their lives are Captain José María Galera Córdoba, from Albacete, and Second Lieutenant Abraham Leoncio Bravo Picallo, from Vimianzo (A Coruña), both 33 years old. They were stationed at the Centro de Adiestramientos Especiales de la Unidad de Acción Rural [Special Training Centre of the Rural Action Unit] based in Logroño. Both had been awarded NATO medals and Captain Galera had also been awarded two Merit Crosses by the Guardia Civil.

The third victim of the attack on Wednesday is Ataollah Taefik Alili, a Spanish interpreter of Iranian origin. He was 55 years old and had been residing in Spain for more than 30 years.

Message from Barack Obama

The President of the United States, Barrack Obama, sent a message of gratitude to José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero for Spain's presence in Afghanistan and for the effort and work being undertaken by Spanish troops and Security Forces in the country.

The message, conveyed to the Spanish Government via the US National Security Council Spokesman, Mike Hammer, also included condolences and solidarity from Barrack Obama on the death of the two Guardia Civil officers and the interpreter during the terrorist attack on Wednesday.