Monday, July 02, 2007

Reports: Captured Hezbollah agent, Iran Quds force behind Karbala ambush in January; Iran using Hezbollah to arm Shiite militants

Above: The five soldiers who died. 1 soldier was killed in the January attack. 4 others were abducted and executed miles away.

Officials: Captured Hezbollah agent helped plan deadly Karbala raid

A top special operations officer from Lebanon's Iranian-backed militia Hezbollah has been captured in Iraq, where U.S. officials say he played a key role in a January attack that killed five Americans.

Ali Mussa Daqduq, an explosives expert, was captured in March in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, where he was helping train and lead Shiite militias fighting coalition troops, U.S. intelligence officials told CNN.

Daqduq pretended to be deaf and mute when captured, and his identity was not known for weeks, the officials said.

Once uncovered, however, they said he began to talk, and they now believe he played a crucial role in the January 20 attack in Karbala...

The Americans say he, along with the Iraqi militia commanders he worked with, has admitted working with Iran's elite Quds Force special operations unit.

From CNN

U.S.: Iran using Hezbollah to arm insurgents

BAGHDAD — Iran’s elite Quds force helped militants carry out a January attack in Karbala that killed five Americans, a U.S. general said Monday.

U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner also accused Tehran of using the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a “proxy” to arm Shiite militants in Iraq.

The claims were an escalation in U.S. accusations that Iran is fueling Iraq’s violence, which Tehran has denied, and were the first time the U.S. military has said Hezbollah has a direct role...

The general also said that Dakdouk was a liaison between the Iranians and a breakaway Shiite group led by Qais al-Kazaali, a former spokesman for cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Bergner said al-Kazaali’s group carried out the January attack against a provincial government building in Karbala and that the Iranians assisted in preparations. Al-Khazaali and his brother Ali al-Khazaali were captured with Dakdouk.

Dakdouk told U.S. interrogators that the Karbala attackers “could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds force,” Bergner said.

Read the rest at Army Times

U.S. Alleges Iran Using Hizballah As 'Proxy' In Iraq

The U.S. military is accusing Iran of using the Lebanese militia Hizballah as a "proxy" to arm Shi'ite militants in Iraq.

A top U.S. military official told a press conference in Baghdad today that the information comes from a senior Hizballah operative captured in southern Iraq in March.

Brigadier General Kevin Bergner said the senior Hizballah operative, Ali Musa Dakduk, was captured on March 20.

He said Dakduk served for 24 years in Hizballah and was working in Iraq as a "surrogate" Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Quds Force.

He also said the Quds Force and Hizballah were cooperating to bring Iraqis to Iran for special combat training.

"Quds Force, along with Hizballah instructors, train approximately 20 to 60 Iraqis at a time, sending them back to Iraq, organized into these special groups," Bergner said. "They were being taught how to use EFPs [explosively formed penetrators], mortars, rockets, as well as intelligence, sniper, and kidnapping operations."

Bergner said Dakduk was a contact point between the Quds Force and a breakaway militant Shi'ite group. He said that group had been led by Qays al-Khaz'ali, a former spokesman for radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

Al-Khaz'ali and his brother were captured at the same time as Dakduk, according to Bergner.

The U.S. military officer said that al-Khaz'ali's group carried out an attack on a provincial government compound in Karbala in January that killed five U.S. soldiers.

Bergner said that the attackers "could not have conducted this complex operation without the support and direction of the Quds Force."

In the assault on the compound, gunmen posed as a U.S. security team to get past guards.

Hizballah officials have made no comment on the charges.

The United States has long accused Iran of helping fund, train, and arm Shi'ite militant groups in Iraq that are both fighting coalition forces and waging a sectarian battle with armed Sunni groups.

Iran's government has always denied any links to attacks on coalition soldiers in Iraq.


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