News On Iran & Its NeighboursIraqU.S. detains 6 Iran-linked members in southern Iraq raid

U.S. detains 6 Iran-linked members in southern Iraq raid

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ImageXinhua: U.S. forces arrested six suspected Iranian-backed Special Groups members in a raid in the city of Kut, southeast of Baghdad, on Sunday, the U.S. military said.

ImageBAGHDAD, April 26 (Xinhua) — U.S. forces arrested six suspected Iranian-backed Special Groups members in a raid in the city of Kut, southeast of Baghdad, on Sunday, the U.S. military said.

A military statement said the troops targeted a network of financiers and smugglers of weapons to Iraq to support Special Groups, which are part of Mahdi Army militias loyal to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The troops killed a gunman and a woman was shot dead after she moved into the line of the fire during the raid, the statement said.

The U.S. military confirmed that its troops were operating fully in coordination with and approval by the Iraqi government, the statement added.

"The government of Iraq has requested the temporary assistance of U.S. forces for the purpose of supporting Iraq in its effort to maintain security and stability, including cooperation in the conduct of operations against terrorist and criminal groups, and remnants of the former regime," it said.

Meanwhile, a provincial security source said a U.S. force from outside the province carried out a raid on a house in the Tamouz neighborhood in central Kut, some 170 km southeast of Baghdad.

Two people were killed in the raid and a police officer was among the detained, the source said.

The source said the U.S. operation was a violation to a security agreement between Iraq and the United States.

Mohammad al-Askari, spokesman for Iraqi ministry of defense, was quoted by local media as saying that his ministry has ordered to detain two military commanders in the province of Wasit for permitting a U.S. force to carry out a raid in Kut without the knowledge of the Iraqi government.

The security pact, signed in November between the two countries, requires that all military operations in Iraq be conducted with the agreement of the Iraqi government and be "fully coordinated" with Iraqi authorities.

The Special Groups in the U.S. military statements refer to Shiite militia extremists funded, trained and armed by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force operatives.

U.S. and some Iraqi officials accuse Iran of arming, funding and training Shiite militias in Iraq. Tehran denies the accusations.

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