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Iraq releases suspected Hezbollah operative

A Hezbollah commander wanted by the United States has been released from Iraqi custody and  flown to Beirut, where one U.S. lawmaker believes he will soon make his way back onto the battlefield.

Lawyer Abdul-Mahdi al-Mitairi said Ali Mussa Daqduq was released on Friday from house arrest in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad. The lawyer did not provide further information in an email sent to The Associated Press.

The U.S believes Daqduq was the mastermind of a 2007 raid on an American military base in the Iraqi holy Shiite city of Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers.

Two Iraqi courts have found Daqduq not guilty and rejected the U.S. request to extradite the Hezbollah militant.

There was no immediate comment from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, (R-Iowa), objected to the U.S. agreeing to turn Daqduq over to Iraq a year ago, instead pushing for a military tribunal. 

            “Daqduq has one of the most significant records of terrorist activity with Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force, even training them," Grassley said. "Yet, the Obama administration decided to turn him over to the Iraqi government knowing that it likely would result in his freedom.

"A military tribunal would have been a far better avenue to bring this terrorist to justice," Grassley added. "Instead, it’s probably just a matter of time before he finds his way back to the battlefield where undoubtedly innocent people will be killed.”