Iraqi police have captured three Iranian-backed Special Groups operatives behind the kidnapping and murder of five US soldiers at the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center in January 2007. Meanwhile, US troops captured another Special Groups leader in the Al Kut region.
The Iraqi police captured the three “key criminals” behind the 2007 Karbala attack in Musayyib, just south of Baghdad, on June 5. The three Special Groups operatives are “suspected of trafficking and emplacing explosively formed projectiles.” Explosively formed projectiles are the signature weapon of Shia terrorists with links to Iran.
The US military immediately suspected Iran’s Qods Force, the elite external operations branch, of being behind the 2007 attack in Karbala. The raid was well planned and executed, as the attackers appeared to be Americans, spoke English, and used American equipment. One US soldier was killed and three wounded during the initial attack, and four soldiers were subsequently taken hostage. They were executed shortly afterward after Iraqi police and Coalition forces tracked their movement eastward towards Iran and went into pursuit. US satellite imagery specialists found a
mock-up of the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center at an Iranian base in southern Iran.
The US military gained insight on the Karbala attack and Iran’s involvement in operations in Baghdad and the South after stepping up pressure on the Iranian networks in late 2006 and throughout 2007. The US military killed or captured multiple high-level Iranian-trained agents and a Qods Force leader of one of the three subcommands inside Iraq.
Multinational Forces Iraq killed Azhar al Dulaimi, the leader of the Karbala attack, during a raid north of Baghdad in May 2007. Dulaimi is described as the mastermind and tactical commander of the Karbala attack, as well as other high-profile terror attacks in Iraq. Dulaimi was a senior leader in the Qazali network, which General David Petraeus noted was behind the planning, organization, and execution of the Karbala attack.
The Qazali Network was led by Qais Qazali, the former spokesman for Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Mahdi Army. US forces captured Qazali and his brother Layith in early 2007. Muqtada al Sadr has called for the release of Qazali in the past.
Coalition forces also captured Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Hezbollah operative, and Mahmud Farhadi, the Qods Force officer in charge of the Zafr Command, one of the three units subordinate to the Ramazan Corps, Iran’s military command directing operations inside Iraq.
Senior Special Groups leader captured near Al Kut
Coalition special forces teams also captured a Special Groups leader in the town of Numaniyah near Al Kut in Wasit province. The operative is described as an “Iranian-trained improvised explosive device expert” who “traveled to Iran several times for explosives training. Intelligence sources also said the suspect has numerous Iranian contacts with whom he would meet when smuggling weapons and bomb-making materials into Iraq.”
US and Iraqi forces detained four other senior Special Groups leaders in Wasit province since June 3.
Iraqi security forces have stepped up operations against the Mahdi Army Special Groups and the Iranian supply lines in Basrah, Dhi Qhar, Wasit, Kabala, and Najaf provinces over the past several weeks. Scores of Special Groups leaders have been captured or killed during operations to disrupt the terror networks.
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