A Spanish soldier serving at the Besmayah military base, 40 kilometers east of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, was killed on Wednesday when a truck belonging to the Iraqi armed forces collided with the armored vehicle he was aboard.
Aarón Vidal López, 25, was in the shooter’s position inside the Lince vehicle, which was waiting to escort a convoy. As a result of the impact, he was ejected out of the vehicle and then run over by the truck. His body will be transported back to Spain on Friday.
Spanish soldiers at Besmayah are working with the US military in training an Iraqi brigade in bomb disposal techniques
Two other Spanish soldiers were injured in the incident, according to the Iraqi Defense Ministry.
Vidal López is the first Spanish soldier to die in Iraq since Spanish troops returned to the country in January 2015 as part of Operation Inherent Resolve. Around 300 members of the Spanish armed forces are deployed at the bases of Besmayah, Taji and Baghdad airport in support of the Iraqi armed forces in their fight against the Islamic State.
An investigation has been opened into the incident and the truck driver, an Iraqi national, detained after being taken to hospital. “There is no reason to think that this was any kind of terrorist attack,” said a Spanish Defense Ministry spokesman.
Spanish soldiers at Besmayah are working with the US military to train an Iraqi brigade in bomb disposal techniques. The mission is in response to a 2014 Iraqi government request for support following the Iraqi army’s collapse in the face of an offensive by the Islamic State.
The Spanish forces were the first to join an international coalition led by the United States. They were joined in May by a Portuguese commando unit.
The Lince armored vehicle, manufactured by Italy’s Iveco, weighs 6.5 tons, has a top speed of 130km/h, and can cover 500 kilometers on a single tank of fuel. It carries up to six passengers, and has a mounted heavy machine gun.
A Spanish soldier and another serviceman from El Salvador were killed in 2014 aboard a Lince involved in a traffic accident in Lebanon.
English version by Nick Lyne.