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April 13, 2003

U.S. captures Hizbullah combatants in Iraq

And Debka reports many top figures of Iraq fleeing into Syria, and reports that WMD moved there
LONDON — The United States has captured Hizbullah insurgents who sought to help the regime of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

The London-based Al Hayat daily quoted U.S. military sources as saying that coalition forces have captured six Hizbullah combatants in northwestern Iraq. The newspaper said on Saturday that the Hizbullah agents were arrested along the Iraqi-Syrian border on Friday.

"They were planning to carry out operations against coalition forces," a U.S. source was quoted as saying.

On Saturday, Hizbullah released a statement that denied that it had sent agents to the Iraqi-Syrian border, Middle East Newsline reported.

Several hundred Hizbullah agents were sent to Iraq since the start of the war on March 20. Many of them were said to have arrived in Shi'ite cities in southern Iraq.

The United States has blamed Syria for the flow of insurgents into Iraq. U.S. officials said the coalition has been bombing Iraqi targets near the Syrian border to warn Damascus against helping the Saddam regime.

"Syria should not meddle in Iraq," U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said. "It should not be assisting people who supported that evil regime, and that behavior just has to stop."