Knocking down the Special Groups

Iraqi Special Forces capture Special Groups commander in Baghdad

The Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured what Multinational Forces Iraq called a “mid-level Special Groups leader” along with two associates during a raid on May 25. The commander, who is “affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps,” is thought to lead a 300-man battalion of Mahdi Army fighters. He has been behind the kidnapping and murdering of Iraqis, and works for the Ministry of Interior.

In related raid, Coalition forces detained a Mahdi Army Special Groups leader in Suwayrah. The operative is described by Multinational Forces Iraq as an “explosively formed penetrator expert believed to be responsible for coordinating and directing attacks on Coalition forces in the Wasit province.” The leader sent his fighters to Iran “for paramilitary training.”

The “Special Groups” element of the Mahdi Army are Iranian-trained and -armed extremists within the larger organization. They’ve been finding themselves the subject of greater attention by both US and Iraqi forces of late.

Couldn’t happen to nicer folks.