Basra, Asharq Al-Awsat – A security source in the governorate of Basra asserted yesterday that the arrest of Ali Musa Daqduq, a leading member of Hezbollah in Lebanon, at the hands of American forces in Basra was coincidental.
The source pointed out that the arrest was made during a raid on the Mahdi Army militias in Basra.
The source, which spoke to Asharq Al Awsat on condition of anonymity, stated that at the point of arrest, Daqduq “pretended to be a deaf-mute and his identity was discovered only several weeks later.” the arrest took place during a military raid aiming to capture Qays al Khazali who was involved in an attack on an American force in Karbala on 20 January 2007. The source added that Daqduq received advanced military and intelligence training, particularly in the manufacturing of explosives, and documents were also found on him to support this, especially financial budgets of the operations that he had carried out.
Other partisan sources pointed out that Daqduq met Yusuf Hashim Abu-Faris, a Hezbollah official in Iran, to draft a plan for training a group of militia members and stressed that the documents found on him indicated that he trained between 20 and 60 elements to carry out missions and diverse operations against the American forces and had a monthly budget of between $750,000 US to $3 US million.
On his part, Hassan al Sari, secretary general of the Hezbollah Movement in Iraq, stressed that there are no links, common strategy, or meetings between his party and the Lebanese Hezbollah. Al Sari, who is also Minister of State without Portfolio in the Iraqi government, told Asharq Al Awsat, “With respect to the individual who was reportedly arrested by the American forces, this is merely a news report which is yet to be confirmed. It is possible that the case was fabricated for malicious reasons. There is no connection whatsoever between our movement and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.”
Al Sari, who is also a member of the Unified Iraqi Coalition, added that his movement has a strong influence and a wide popular base in the southern central Euphrates and Baghdad. He stated that his movement had renounced armed action after the collapse of the former regime and has since taken part in political activity. It now has two seats in parliament and one ministry in Nuri al Maliki’s government as well as some administrative posts in other ministries and state institutions.