41% of Iraq's foreign fighters were Saudi
The files listed the nationalities and biographical details of more than 700 fighters who crossed into Iraq from August last year, around half of whom came to the country to be suicide bombers, the New York Times reported today.
In all, 305, or 41%, of the fighters listed were from Saudi Arabia. Another 137, or 18%, came from Libya. Both countries are officially US allies in anti-terrorism efforts.
In contrast, 56 Syrians were listed and no Lebanese. Previously, US officials estimated that around a fifth of all foreign fighters in Iraq came from these two countries.
US officials have also long complained about Iranian interference in the affairs of its neighbour, accusing Tehran of shipping weapons for militants over the border. However, any assistance does not appear to extend to people, the paper said, reporting that, of around 25,000 suspected militants in US custody in Iraq, 11 were Iranian. No Iranians were listed among the fighters whose details were found. Link
Note: The term 'foreign fighters' in this case excludes 'coalition' forces.