MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT

Spaniard killed in combat in Syria

Police investigating who recruited him and other companions Family members found out last Friday that he had died "as a martyr"

A Spanish citizen was killed earlier this month fighting in the civil uprising in Syria, the first Spaniard to die in the conflict, his family confirmed Tuesday.

The family of 32-year-old Rachid Wahbi, who worked as cab driver in the Northern enclave of Ceuta received a phone call last Friday from Syria indicating he had died as a “martyr” on June 1 fighting for the revolution.

Rachid traveled to Syria with three other Muslims from Ceuta in April to fight against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, concealing the purpose of their trip. They said they wanted to study the Koran in religious schools in Damascus, Spanish security forces said Tuesday.

Spanish police are investigating how they were recruited, who paid for their trip, and what route they took. They apparently entered Syria from Turkey where the Free Syrian Army fighting against the al-Assad regime has a presence.

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