Iraq continues crackdown on Iranian-backed terror groups


The Mahdi Army.

As tensions between Iran and Iraq rise over the Iranian occupation of a disputed oil field in Iraq's province of Amarah, Iraqi security forces continue to work to dismantle the Iranian-backed Shia terror groups operating in Baghdad and the surrounding areas.

Since Nov. 6, Iraqi security forces have detained 60 members of the Shia terror groups who are collectively known as the Special Groups by the US military, according to numbers compiled by The Long War Journal.

Eighteen members of the Promise Day Brigade; 13 members of the Hezbollah Brigades, including seven in the past two days; nine members of the Mahdi Army; and 20 operatives only described as Special Groups members have been detained in raids in Baghdad, Amarah, and Al Kut.

Among those captured are the leader of the Promise Day Brigade in Amarah, a senior Promise Day Brigade leader in Baghdad, a Mahdi Army cell leader in Diyala, a Hezbollah Brigade cell leader and media specialist in Baghdad, and a Special Groups sniper who killed a US soldier in Al Kut.

Iran has backed a host of Shia terror groups in Iraq, including the Mahdi Army and the Promise Day Brigade, the Asaib al Haq, and the Hezbollah Brigades [see LWJ report, "Iraqi forces search for Qods Force agents" and "Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq" for more details on Iran's involvement in Iraq and the individual terror groups].

The Promise Day Brigade, the newest of the Iranian-backed groups, was formed by anti-American Shia leader Muqtada al Sadr during the summer of 2008 after he announced he would disband the Mahdi Army and formed a small, secretive military arm to fight Coalition forces in June. The group actively receives support from Iran, the US military told The Long War Journal.

"According to US and Iraqi intelligence sources, the Promise Day Brigades (PDB) terrorist organization is an Iranian-sponsored group actively targeting US Forces in attempt to disrupt security operations and further destabilize the nationalization process in Iraq," Lieutenant Todd Spitler, a Press Desk Officer at Multinational Forces Iraq, said in a response to an inquiry.

"Operating from Baghdad and locations across central Iraq, members of the terrorist organization have admitted to receiving funding and logistical support from PDB cells based in Iran," Spitler continued. "Members of the terrorist organization have admitted involvement in attacks targeting US Forces convoys and military installations."

The Promise Day Brigade killed one US soldier and wounded four more in an EFP attack in Baghdad in September, and a rocket attack against a US installation in November (no casualties were reported), Spitler said.

EFPs, or Explosively Formed Penetrators, are the signature weapon of Shia terror groups backed by Iran. The US attributes nearly 10 percent of its combat deaths in Iraq to EFPs.

List of Special Groups, Hezbollah Brigades, Promise Day Brigade, and Mahdi Army operatives detained since Nov. 6:

Dec. 23, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three Hezbollah Brigades fighters in northeastern Baghdad.

Dec. 22, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained four Hezbollah Brigades fighters in Baghdad.

Dec. 20, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained Aqil Jabar al Tamimi, a Mahdi Army cell leader in Diyala.

Dec. 20, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Special Groups leader in Al Kut.

Dec. 19, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained two Promise Day Brigade leaders and three fighters in Baghdad,

Dec. 16, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained two Hezbollah Brigades members in Baghdad.

Dec. 13, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Promise Day Brigade member in Baghdad.

Dec. 11, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Promise Day Brigade member in Baghdad.

Dec. 9, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a senior Promise Day Brigade leader in in Baghdad.

Dec. 7, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained two Promise Day Brigade members in Baghdad.

Dec. 6, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Mahdi Army commander and three fighters in Baghdad.

Dec. 4, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad.

Dec. 4, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Special Groups operative in Amara.

Nov. 29, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained the leader of the Promise Day Brigade in Amarah.

Nov. 27, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three Promise Day Brigade fighters were captured in Baghdad.

Nov. 27, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three Hezbollah Brigades operatives in northern Baghdad.

Nov. 24, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three Special Groups operatives in Amara.

Nov. 23, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a suspected Special Groups sniper who killed a US soldier in Al Kut.

Nov. 22, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained two Special Groups cell members in Amarah.

Nov. 21, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Special Groups operative in Baghdad.

Nov. 19, 2009: Iraqi security forces arrested a Hezbollah Brigades operative who leads a sniper and missile cell, and is a member of a media cell that records attacks against security forces.

Nov. 16, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained four Special Groups operatives in Al Kut

Nov. 13, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained a Mahdi Army member in Baghdad.

Nov. 11, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three Special Groups operatives in Baghdad.

Nov. 9, 2009: Iraqi security forces captured a Hezbollah Brigades member in Baghdad.

Nov. 7, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained three members of the Promise Day Brigade in Baghdad.

Nov. 6, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained four Special Groups operatives in Al Kut.

Nov. 6, 2009: Iraqi security forces detained two members of the Promise Day Brigade in Baghdad.



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READER COMMENTS: "Iraq continues crackdown on Iranian-backed terror groups"

Posted by David M at December 24, 2009 10:30 AM ET:

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 12/24/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by KnightHawk at December 24, 2009 11:00 AM ET:

Good news keep it up!

Posted by Rhyno327 at December 26, 2009 10:12 AM ET:

why they kickin in doors and grabbing them..only for the US to set them FREEE...pathetic..