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Guardia Civil terrorism experts fly to Iraq to train federal police in DAESH fight
GUARDIA Civil officers from Spain specially trained in terrorist operations have been flown out to Iraq to help its federal police in the fight against DAESH, the soi-disant 'Islamic State'.
A total of 170 members of the force belong to the élite Rapid Action Groups (GAR), with extensive experience in battling terrorism, although only 25 have gone to the war-torn Middle Eastern country.
All of them volunteered to do so, and were waved off on Thursday by interior minister Juan Ignacio Zoido from the military air-base in Torrejón de Ardoz (Madrid).
They will be training Iraqi police for four-and-a-half months, then will be relieved by another group of 25.
Spain's GAR wing of the Guardia Civil has been key in the fight against Basque terrorist organisation ETA throughout its bloodthirsty 'career', particularly during its most active and violent years.
GAR officers have already used their experience to train police and special forces in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic (CAR), Lebanon, HaÏti, Sénégal, Bosnia and Kosovo.
They will join the existing 425 Spanish soldiers currently based in Iraq as part of the International Coalition against DAESH, and will be stationed at the Gran Capitán base in Besmayah, some 45 kilometres from the capital, Baghdad.
Chief Lieutenant Colonel of the GAR, Jesús Gayoso, explains that the terrorism of ETA and DAESH are very different, but that they share similarities which require the same type of police strategies.
The GAR's work in 'contributing to the stability of the new State under construction' is 'very specific', says Gayoso, but clearly, he is unable to reveal any details of the work the 25 officers will be carrying out.
He reveals that the team are 'eager and excited' at their new mission, whilst minister Zoido praised them for their courage.
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