RealNews

Fears grow about foreign fighters

Car bombing feeds concerns that groups are joining forces. The Al-Zahra Guest House here is nearly full each night with Iranians who have come to pray at the Shiite Muslim shrines of Imam Hussein and Imam Abbas. But many of the Iranian visitors in this dust-swept city of 570,000 have not entered Iraq with passports or through official border crossings. The presence of so many undocumented foreigners and Friday’s car bombing that killed 125 people in Najaf, Iraq’s holiest city to Shiites, have increased concern that foreign fighters are moving into Iraq to orchestrate attacks against U.S.-led coalition forces and Iraqis who support them. They also underscore fears that disparate groups opposed to the occupation are working together to force coalition troops to leave. U.S. and Iraqi officials say anti-American elements linked to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network may have been responsible for the Najaf bombing. It’s not clear whether any of the people arrested in the Najaf attack are Iranian. But Iraqis in Karbala suspect that some visitors from Iran are not here just to visit a shrine. Full Story

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