The Associated Press Saturday 29 November 2003 BAGHDAD, Iraq - Attackers ambushed a team of Spanish intelligence officers on a highway south of Baghdad on Saturday, killing seven agents and wounding one, Spanish Defense Minister Federico Trillo said. Television footage showed a small group of youths gathered after the attack, chanting slogans in support of Saddam Hussein and kicking the bodies. The team was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades and rifles in Mahmudiyah, 18 miles south of Baghdad, Trillo said in televised comments. He said he would fly to Iraq to repatriate the bodies. The two civilian four-wheel-drive vehicles were traveling south from Baghdad to the city of Hillah, according to Capt. Ivan Morgan, a spokesman for a multinational division in southern Iraq. He described the men as Spanish soldiers attached to an intelligence unit. Footage shot by Sky News shortly after the attack showed a crowd of about a dozen men gathered around the bodies, chanting: ``We sacrifice our souls and blood for you, oh Saddam.'' One young man could be seen planting his foot on one of the bodies while another kicked it. The cameraman who shot the footage, Adam Murch, said he could see two destroyed vehicles -- one still burning -- and four bodies on the road. He described the crowd as jubilant, and said some of the youths said the bodies belonged to CIA agents. The Spanish Defense Ministry said three helicopters of Spain's Plus Ultra Brigade went to the area to evacuate survivors. Spain was one of the staunchest supporters of the U.S.-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein earlier this year and sent 1,300 soldiers to help maintain order. King Juan Carlos professed his profound sorrow over Saturday's attack. Spokesmen for Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said the attack wouldn't cause Spain to end its presence in Iraq. ``We are grateful to all the people who serve Spain and Spain's democracy beyond our borders fighting terrorism and guaranteeing freedom and democracy,'' Justice Minister Jose Maria Michavila said. In all, 10 Spanish troops have died in Iraq since the U.S-led invasion in March. Among previous attacks, a Spanish diplomat attached to Spain's intelligence agency was assassinated near his residence in Baghdad on Oct. 9, and a Spanish navy captain was killed in the truck bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad on Aug. 19. Other partners in the U.S.-led coalition have also been targeted. On Nov. 12, a truck bomb outside the Italian barracks in Nasiriyah killed 19 Italians and 14 others in an apparent attempt to weaken the resolve of Washington's allies. On Thursday, insurgents fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the Italian mission in Baghdad, causing damage but no injuries. The United States suspects al-Qaida operatives have taken part in many of the attacks on coalition and civilian targets in Iraq, but still has no conclusive evidence of its involvement, the top U.S. military official in Iraq said Saturday. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez also said some U.S.-trained Iraqi police and civilian informants appear to have conducted some of the attacks. ``Clearly those are concerns we have. We try to do the vetting (of Iraqi employees) as close as we can,'' he said. ``There have been instances when police were conducting attacks against the coalition and against the people.'' U.S. officials say the arrest of three North Africans in Europe this week on suspicion of recruiting militants to attack the American-led coalition points to an organized international campaign. But Sanchez acknowledged the difficulty of establishing a firm connection with the terror network amid the chaos of what has been the deadliest month for American soldiers since the U.S.-led invasion on March 20 -- though the number of assaults has declined in recent days. ``We still haven't conclusively established an al-Qaida operative in this country,'' the general said. The United States plans changes to its forces in Iraq to make them more mobile to respond to assaults that Sanchez said is becoming particularly bloody for ordinary Iraqis, with guerrillas launching more than 150 attacks against police and other civilians during the during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ended last week. Guerrilla attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq have dropped some 30 percent in the past two weeks, he said. They have fallen from a daily average of 35 to 22. On the worst days earlier this month, the total reached as high as 50 attacks per day, Sanchez said. At least 75 U.S. soldiers have been killed in November. The new phase in the Iraq war will begin as forces are rotated out of Iraq and replaced by new units, including several thousand U.S. Marines. ``We are going to change the composition of our forces,'' Sanchez said. ``We'll have more infantry. We're moving to a more mobile force, one that has the right blend of light and heavy.'' Military planners see no need for an overall increase from the 130,000 U.S. forces in Iraq, and the number of troops would decrease as transportation, logistics and communications personnel are sent home, he said. In the northern city of Kirkuk, U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York and Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island held a private meeting with local officials who pleaded for financial help from the American government. Clinton, a Democrat from New York, and Reed, a Democrat from Rhode Island, spent Friday in Iraq with troops, occupation officials and aid workers. They said Friday that the huge costs of rebuilding Iraq should be spread among a wider group of nations. ``I'm a big believer that we ought to internationalize this, but it will take a big change in our administration's thinking,'' said Clinton. ``I don't see that it's forthcoming.''