The arrest was said to have taken place on Thursday in Mahawil, south of
Baghdad. The coalition statement said the target was a leader of the
Iranian-sponsored Special Groups.
"Acting on intelligence information, coalition forces conducted a raid
on the home of the suspected Special Groups leader in Mahawil, south of
Baghdad," the statement said on Thursday. "He surrendered without incident."
The U.S. military also reported the arrest of another senior Iranian
operative. The unidentified operative, captured east of Kut, was identified
as a Special Groups member and "the primary weapons smuggler and financier
for Iranian-backed enemy elements in that area."
"The suspect and an associate surrendered when coalition forces stormed
their location," the statement said.
The coalition has corrected claims made by the Iraq Army
and security forces of the capture of leading insurgents. In May, the
Interior Ministry reported the arrest of Al Qaida network chief Abu Ayyoub
Al Masri. Hours later, the ministry retracted the report.
Still, Iraqi and U.S. officials agreed that the Lebanese-based Hizbullah
has been a leading tool in the Iranian training and direction of Shi'ite
militias, particularly the Mahdi Army and Special Groups. The officials said
Hizbullah officers, favored by Teheran over Iranian nationals, conceal
their identity even from the Shi'ite groups they train.