WASHINGTON — Iraqi Shiite explosive and assassination teams are being trained in at least four locations in Iran by Tehran's elite Quds force and Lebanese Hezbollah, according to intelligence gleaned from captured militia fighters and other sources in Iraq.
A senior U.S. military intelligence officer in Baghdad also said the fighters planned to return to Iraq in the next few months to kill specific Iraqi officials as well as U.S. and Iraqi forces.
The intelligence officer described the information Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press. He spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the intelligence information.
The officer on Wednesday provided Iraq's national security adviser with several lists of the assassination teams' expected targets. The country's intelligence service is now preparing operations to determine where and when the specially trained fighters will enter Iraq and will provide an assessment to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the intelligence officer said.
Iran, Hezbollah's mentor, denies giving any support to Shiite extremists in Iraq.
The U.S. official disclosed the information in an attempt to create political pressure on Iran to suspend the training and prevent the militia fighters from returning to Iraq.