Rise Of A Secret Unit

In his report to Congress earlier this month, Gen. David Petraeus claimed that Iran has a deadly new ally in its proxy war against U.S. forces in Iraq: a secret unit of the militant Lebanese Hizbullah movement called Department 2800. It was created, Petraeus said, "to support the training, arming, funding and, in some cases, direction" of Shia militia cells and turn them into a "Hizbullah-like" movement opposing U.S. forces and the Iraqi government. According to Petraeus, Department 2800's partner is the Quds Force, a secretive branch of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran's principal internal-security apparatus. Petraeus also told Congress that U.S. forces had managed to capture the "deputy commander" of Department 2800. A U.S. counterterrorism official, who requested anonymity when discussing sensitive material, told NEWSWEEK that the operative was detained in March while he was canvassing insurgent cells in Iraq, helping them set up weapons deliveries, offering strategies for attacks and even arranging for some insurgents to attend training inside Iran. The Hizbullah rep, whose name was not disclosed, was also allegedly involved in planning a January attack in Karbala during which insurgents dressed as U.S. soldiers entered a secure compound and kidnapped, then later killed, five Americans.