Coalition forces capture Hezbollah Brigades operative in Baghdad
Hezbollah Brigades' logo is nearly identical to that of Lebanese Hezbollah.
Coalition special operations forces captured two members of the Iranian-supported Hezbollah Brigades during a raid in eastern Baghdad on early Thursday morning. The intelligence-driven raid targeted the home of a propaganda cell member, Multinational Forces Iraq reported. The cell member was responsible for videotaping Hezbollah Brigades attacks on US and Iraqi forces in Baghdad.
"This propaganda cell is suspected of making, videos of attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces, which are then used to raise funds and resources for additional attacks against Coalition forces and Iraqis," the US military stated in a press release.
While the exact neighborhood in Baghdad was not identified, Multinational Forces Iraq often referred to the New Baghdad district as east Baghdad. On July 21, Coalition forces captured a member of a Hezbollah Brigades propaganda cell who was responsible for uploading attack videos to the Internet in New Baghdad.
The Hezbollah Brigades, or the Kata'ib Hezbollah, has been active for more than a year, Sergeant Susan James, a Public Affairs NCO for Multinational Forces Iraq told The Long War Journal. Multinational Forces Iraq said the group receives support from Iran and is an "offshoot of Iranian-trained Special Groups." The US military has referred to the Iranian-backed elements of the Mahdi Army as the Special Groups. The Hezbollah Brigades is "a separate and independent organization from Special Groups," said James.
"We believe that Hezbollah Brigades does receive support from Iran," James said. "That support likely includes funding, training, logistics, and material." Iran's Qods Force funds, trains, arms, and supports Mahdi Army operatives to facilitate attacks on Coalition and Iraqi forces.
The logo used by the Hezbollah Brigades is nearly an exact match of the one used by Lebanese Hezbollah, which is directly supported by Iran. The logo shows an arm extended vertically, with the fist grasping an AK-47 assault rifle. US forces captured Ali Mussa Daqduq inside Iraq in early 2007. Daqduq is a senior Hezbollah commander who was tasked with setting up the Mahdi Army Special Groups along the same lines as the Lebanese terror group.
The Hezbollah Brigades began uploading videos of attacks on US and Iraqi forces this year. The group has claimed responsibility for the July 8 improvised rocket-assisted mortar, or IRAM, attack on Joint Security Station Ur in northeastern Baghdad [see video]. One US soldier and one interpreter were wounded after eight of the makeshift "flying IEDs" detonated near the outpost. Shia terror groups have launched a handful of IRAM attacks on US and Iraqi outposts in Baghdad.
The IRAM is a civilian truck converted to fire four to 10 rigged mortars on outposts at distances from 150 to 400 yards. The weapon has had little impact on US and Iraqi forces operating in Baghdad, but the US military is concerned about the weapon's potential to cause a mass-casualty incident.
Hezbollah Brigades also posted video of an attack on a US patrol with an Iranian-supplied, armor-piercing, explosively formed projectile, or EFP.
The operation to capture the Hezbollah Brigades propaganda cell members is the latest in a series of raids against Shia terrorists. Scores of Special Groups operatives have been captured over the past month, including senior leaders, weapons smugglers, financiers, trainers, and cell leaders.
For more information on improvised rocket-assisted mortars, see: Mahdi Army uses "flying IEDs" in Baghdad.