Bush-administrasjonen fører et tøffere språk overfor Iran, og har ved to anledninger aksjonert mot iranske representanter i Irak. Hvis det kan bevises at Iran har stått bak Kerbala-angrepet, kan det få alvorlige følger, ikke bare for USAs forhold til Iran, men også for Iraks forhold til Iran.
A senior Iraqi official said the attackers had carried forged American identity cards and American-style M-4 rifles and had thrown stun grenades of a kind used only by American forces here.
One American soldier was killed during the initial attack and four more were abducted and killed shortly afterward as the police pursued the sport utility vehicles used in the attack.
The attack was focused on a meeting at a joint security station, where American and Iraqi forces mesh their efforts in the new security plan.
An Iraqi knowledgeable about the investigation said four suspects had been detained and questioned. Based on those interviews, investigators have concluded that as they fled Karbala with the abducted Americans, the attackers used advanced devices to monitor police communications and avoid the roads where the police were searching.
The suspects have also told investigators that «a religious group in Najaf» was involved in the operation, the Iraqi said, in a clear reference to the Mahdi Army, the militia controlled by the breakaway Shiite cleric, Moktada al-Sadr. If that information holds up, it would dovetail with assertions by several Iraqi officials that Iran is financing and training a small number of splinter groups from the Mahdi Army to carry out special operations and assassinations.
«I hear that there are a number of commando and assassination squads that are disconnected and controlled directly by Iran,» the senior Iraqi official said, citing information directly from the prime minister’s office. «They have supplied JAM and others with significant weaponry and training,» he said using shorthand for the group, from its name in Arabic, Jaish al Mahdi.
Det snakkes om at iranerne kan ha lært opp en fraksjon innen Mahdi-militsen som agerer på egen hånd. Men det kan også være noe man sier for å unngå å gå løs på selve militsen.
Iran May Have Trained Attackers That Killed 5 American Soldiers, U.S. and Iraqis Say