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US Reports Threat from Iran-Backed Militants in Iraq

The U.S. military commander in Iraq says security has been increased at U.S. bases because Iranian-backed insurgents have received specialized training inside Iran to attack U.S. forces in Iraq.

General Ray Odierno said Tuesday there has been "an increased threat" of an attack on U.S. forces by Kataib Hezbollah, a Shi'ite group that U.S. officials say is trained and funded by Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.

"This is another attempt by Iran and others to influence the U.S. role here inside Iraq," Odierno told reporters in Baghdad.

He said that in response to the threat, security has been beefed up at U.S. bases around Iraq and the U.S. military has stepped up joint operations with Iraqi security forces.

There are currently around 74,000 U.S. troops in Iraq, and that number is set to drop to 50,000 by the beginning of September. All U.S. forces are scheduled to leave Iraq by the end of 2011.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.