News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqIraq's Shia extremists 'trained in Iran by Hizbollah'

Iraq’s Shia extremists ‘trained in Iran by Hizbollah’

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ImageDaily Telegraph: A senior American officer said that captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq had confirmed suspicions that members of Iran's elite Quds force and members of the Lebanese militia Hizbollah were training their fellow Shia Muslims from Iraq to create more so-called "special groups" of fighters.

The Daily Telegraph

Iraq's Shia extremists are being trained in four locations inside Iran and are planning to return to assassinate officials in Baghdad, according to US military intelligence.

By Our Foreign Staff

ImageA senior American officer said that captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq had confirmed suspicions that members of Iran's elite Quds force and members of the Lebanese militia Hizbollah were training their fellow Shia Muslims from Iraq to create more so-called "special groups" of fighters.

The US officer told the Associated Press that he had provided Iraq's national security adviser with several lists of the assassination teams' expected targets. He said they include several judges and specific politicians, but did not identify who they were.

The training is also intended to equip the insurgents for the daily clashes with Iraqi and American forces.

Iraq's intelligence service is preparing operations to determine where and when the special group fighters will enter the country and is to provide an assessment to Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, the US officer said.

He acknowledged that disclosing the information was an attempt to put pressure on Iran to suspend the training and prevent the militia fighters from returning to Iraq. The US military also wants the Iraqi government to take steps to protect the targets. "Wanted" posters picturing men believed to be heading the special groups are being posted around Baghdad, the military officer said.

The US also is encouraging the Iraqi government to confront Tehran with the information in diplomatic channels

The fighters, who are not expected to deploy in Basra which British forces oversee, are said to be due to return to Iraq by October.

Cell leaders of the special groups are being trained in Tehran, the officer said, while their footsoldiers are taken to separate camps for indoctrination.

They are reported to be undergoing intensive training in the use of increasingly sophisticated roadside bombs as well as the same rocket-propelled grenade launchers used by the Quds force and Hizbollah.

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