AFP: Iranian-backed Shiite extremist groups operating in Baghdad’s Sadr City show no sign of easing up attacks on US forces despite an overall decline in violence, a US commander said Monday. WASHINGTON (AFP) Iranian-backed Shiite extremist groups operating in Baghdad’s Sadr City show no sign of easing up attacks on US forces despite an overall decline in violence, a US commander said Monday.
Colonel Don Farris, a battalion commander with the 82nd Airborne Division, said more Iranian-made armor piercing bombs were used in attacks in his sector of northeastern Baghdad in October than in any previous month.
US military officials in Baghdad earlier this month reported an overall decline in attacks involving so-called EFPs, or explosively formed penetrators, and that Iran appeared to have slowed the flow of the weapons into Iraq.
Farris, however, said he had seen no sign of a pull back by Iranian-backed “special groups” even though a cease-fire called by radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr was generally holding.
“I can speak for my sector,” he said. “And in my sector the assessment is we have not seen any slowing down or any indicators that these special groups are going to curtail their activities or quit receiving this support that’s coming from outside the country.”
Speaking to reporters here via video link from Iraq, Farris said nine EFPs were used in attacks in October, surpassing the previous peak of seven in April and May.
He said the Iranian-backed groups operate from within Sadr City, a predominantly Shiite area that falls within Farris’ sector but where the US military has had a limited presence.
“So, while the violence is down, I remain very concerned in our sector about these special groups,” he said.
“They’re very lethal. They’re organized. They’re sophisticated. And I have not seen that their operations have declined or diminished in any way, shape or form here in the last several months,” he said.