U.S. Sends Spanish Journalist’s Body Home

By: Alexandra Zavis, Associated Press Writer

(AP) Acting on a request from Spain, U.S. forces retrieved the body of a Spanish journalist from an Iraqi morgue on Friday, three days after he was killed when an American tank shell hit the hotel he was in.

Spanish journalist Telecinco cameraman Jose Couso, 37, died in the Tuesday attack.

The body was taken to a Marine staging area near the Iraqi Interior Ministry and flown by helicopter to Kuwait for repatriation to Spain.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar said Wednesday he had asked President Bush for help recovering the body.

U.S. Central Command in Doha, Qatar, said U.S. forces fired on the Palestine Hotel Tuesday after troops received “significant” enemy fire from the 18-story building along the Tigris River.

Journalists who were standing on the hotel’s balconies taking pictures said they didn’t see anyone firing from the hotel before the tank opened fire from a bridge a little more than half a mile away.

The tank shell hit balconies on the 14th and 15th floors, spraying glass and shrapnel into a corner suite used by the Reuters news agency.

A Ukrainian cameraman, Taras Protsyuk, 35, was killed and three other Reuters employees were wounded. Telecinco said Couso, hit in the leg and jaw, died after surgery.

The tank that fired was attached to the 3rd Infantry Division.

Spanish officials have said they want a thorough investigation by the United States.

Another Spanish reporter, El Mundo‘s Julio Anguita Parrado, died Monday when an Iraqi missile hit U.S. infantry troops south of Baghdad.

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