U.S. officials are blaming the uptick in troop deaths in Iraq on increasing sophisticated weaponry used by Iranian-backed militia groups. June’s death toll was 15, making it the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Iraq in two years, The Washington Post reported.
The troops are coming under attack from rockets, armor-piercing grenades and road-side bombs equipped with jam-resistant devices suspected of coming from Iran. The death toll appears to confirm American fears of an increase in violence as troop withdrawals continue, the Post reported.
Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told the Post that the main threat to Americans is from three Shiite militia groups operating in Iraq. Officials believe they are trained and equipped by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps special forces. “All of them receive at least indirect support from elements in Iran,” Buchanan said, according to the Post.
An attack with a sophisticated rocked killed six American soldiers in early June and it is believed that the Shiite militia group Kataib Hezbollah was responsible. Buchanan told the Post there is “no doubt” that Kataib Hezbollah “follows orders” from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’s Quds Force. “Their leadership lives in Iran, they are directly trained by the Quds Force and they are supplied by them,” Buchanan said, according to the Paper.
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