Hizbollah har hatt instruktører i Irak et par års tid, som har trent opp utbryterfraksjoner av Mahdi-hæren til Muqtadah al-Sadr. Det sier to shia-parlamentarikere og en irakisk offiser til AP.

Hizbollah påtar seg oppdraget på vegne av Iran, som ønsker innflytelse i Irak for enhver pris.

All this suggests that Shiite-dominated Iran is waging a proxy war against the United States to secure a dominant role in majority-Shiite Iraq, which has supplanted Lebanon as Tehran’s top priority in the Middle East.

«The stakes are much higher in Iraq, where there is a Shiite majority, oil, the shrine cities and borders with Saudi Arabia,» said analyst Farid al-Khazen, a Christian Lebanese lawmaker whose party is allied with Hezbollah.

«The big story is Iraq, and the Americans unwittingly opened it up for the Iranians» by their invasion in 2003, al-Khazen said.

The lawmakers belong to al-Sadr’s movement and were involved in the creation of the Mahdi Army in 2003. The military officer’s job gives him access to highly classified intelligence information.

They said Hezbollah began training Shiite militiamen in the second half of 2006 at two camps — Deir and Kutaiban — east of Basra near the Iranian border. They fled across the border in late March or early April this year after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces launched a crackdown against militias in Basra, Iraq’s second-largest city.

Hezbollah said to train Shiite militiamen in Iraq