More Iranian arms importers caught in Iraq

Washington Times:

Four terrorists linked to an Iranian smuggling operation — responsible for targeting coalition forces with powerful bombs — were captured yesterday in Iraq, according to Defense Department officials.

The announcement came as U.S. officials continue to investigate links between Iran and insurgents seeking to destabilize the region and who target U.S. forces on the ground.

"I would say that it's clear to us that there are networks that are smuggling weapons, both explosive-formed projectiles, IEDs, as well as mortar and other capabilities from Iran into Iraq," said Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the day-to-day commander in Iraq.

"And in fact, we believe some training is also going on inside of Iran. We have seen in the last three months a significant improvement in the capability of mortarmen and rocketeers to provide accurate fires into the [coalition] Green Zone and other places. We think this is directly related to training that was conducted in Iran."

Terrorists are suspected of facilitating the transport of weapons and personnel from Iran into Iraq, specifically the deadly Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs). The warhead-style weapons can pierce armor and cause significant damage and casualties to coalition forces.

The suspects were captured after U.S. forces conducted a raid in Qasarin, a small village north of Baqouba, in the Diyala province near the border with Iran.

Iran is one of the reasons the US is working on a huge arms deal of its own for other countries in the region including Saudi Arabia. It involves $20 billion for the Saudis, $39 billion for Israel and $13 billion for Egypt.

The operation in Qasarin is another benefit of the recent offensive in Diyala that cleared much of the al Qaeda network from the area. It is also on the enemy rat lines into Iran and destroying that net work will give the Iraqi government a better opportunity to succeed.


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