Iraqi Shiite group says member killed in Syria

AP News
Posted: Apr 06, 2013 7:58 AM

BAGHDAD (AP) — An official of an Iraqi Shiite militant group says one of its members was killed in Syria, underscoring how the increasingly sectarian conflict there is drawing in its fragile neighbors.

The official of the Hezbollah Brigades, who requested anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity, said Saturday that Arfad Mohsen al-Hemedawi was killed "defending holy sites." He offered no further details on the death.

The group is not connected to the better-known Lebanese Hezbollah, although both are Iranian-backed.

It's the first time that the Iraqi Hezbollah has hinted that its members are fighting in Syria. Other Iraqi Shiite militias have acknowledged sending members there.

Iran and many Iraqi Shiite militants support President Bashar Assad, part of a Shiite offshoot sect. Many Iraqi Sunnis back the largely Sunni rebels.