Washington - US is looking at a possible Iran backing to militant groups in trouble torn Iraq for the heightened attacks on coalition forces.
Military officials in Baghdad and at the Pentagon blamed the mounting death toll on the growing sophistication of weapons that insurgents and Iranian-backed militia groups are using, including powerful rockets, armour-piercing grenades and jam-resistant roadside bombs suspected of coming from Iran, The Washington Post reports.
Atleast 15 American soldiers were killed in the month of June - highest toll in a month for the last two years. Fourteen of the deaths were combat-related, the highest since 23 soldiers and Marines were killed in action in June 2008.
According to Maj. Gen. Jeffrey S. Buchanan, chief spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, the primary threat to the Americans comes from three Shiite militia groups operating in Iraq, which officials said they believe are being trained and equipped by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps special forces.
"All of them receive at least indirect support from elements in Iran," Buchanan was quoted as saying.
In early June, what U.S. officials believe was a sophisticated rocket slammed into a joint Iraqi-U.S. military base in eastern Baghdad, killing six American soldiers in the deadliest single attack on forces here in more than two years. In addition, roadside bombs killed three U.S. troops in June.
Last week, an American contractor for the U.S. Agency for International Development was killed when suspected Shiite militants attached a bomb to a car he was riding in near a Baghdad university. And Sunday, two U.S. troops were killed when an apparent armor-piercing grenade was lobbed at their vehicle, the report said.
Buchanan said there is 'no doubt' that Kataib Hezbollah 'follows orders' from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps's Quds Force, a highly specialized unit responsible for operations outside Iran.
"Their leadership lives in Iran, they are directly trained by the Quds Force and they are supplied by them," Buchanan said.
Earlier, Defence Secretary Robert Gates had also voiced similar concerns saying Iran was 'facilitating weapons and training to militias.