Nearly 200 U.S. troops have been killed and nearly 1,000 injured by Iranian-made explosives in Iraq, according to new disclosures from a partially declassified report conducted by U.S. Central Command and described by sources to the Washington Free Beacon.
The number of U.S. deaths resulting from Iranian terrorism were revealed for the first time on Wednesday by Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) during a hearing focusing on the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute terrorists directly responsible for the deaths of Americans.
At least 196 U.S. service members fighting in Iraq were killed directly as a result of Iranian-made explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, according to Cruz and congressional sources familiar with Centcom’s mostly classified report.
The deaths took place between 2003 and 2011. The Iranian explosive devices wounded another 861 U.S. soldiers, and a total of 1,534 attacks were carried out on U.S. military members over this period, according to sources familiar with the report, which was provided to Cruz’s office.
The explosive devices are a "hallmark weapon" of Iran's Quds force, a paramilitary group that operates outside of Iran’s borders, according to sources familiar with the report. It has been determined that only Iranian-backed operatives use these weapons in Iraq.
U.S. military leaders disclosed in testimony before the Senate that Iranian terror activities have claimed the lives of around 500 U.S. soldiers, which accounts for at least 14 percent of all American casualties in Iraq from 2003 to 2011.
"That blood is on Iran’s hands," Cruz said Wednesday afternoon during a hearing on the Obama administration’s decision to not prosecute terrorists who have murdered American citizens and troops abroad.
"Iran has been and still is at war with the U.S.," Cruz said. "Yet despite the slaughter and maiming of an untold number of America citizens … the U.S. government has rather shockingly failed time and time again to fulfill its sovereign duty to obtain justice for its citizens. Our government has failed terror victims in a number of ways."
Palestinian terrorists, many of them supported by Iran, have killed more than 53 Americans. The Department of Justice has not prosecuted a single person, Cruz said.
Those testifying at the hearing said they were alarmed by the government’s hesitation to prosecute terror cases.
"The greatest pain that victims and their families have is watching another incident take place, watching another death," said Aegis Industries CEO Kenneth Stethem, whose brother, Robert, was killed during the 1985 hijacking of a TWA flight by Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists.
"I would like to know if the administration has asked Iran if they’re still at jihad," Stethem said, adding that separating Iran from terrorism is "like separating light from a flame and heat from a fire."
"Is it sound policy to give money to a terrorist nation that is at war with us?" Stethem asked, referring to the more than $150 billion in cash assets that will be released to Iran as a result of the recent nuclear accord.
Stethem also said he was concerned by the Obama administration’s failure to hold Iran accountable for recent violations of the accord, which include the testing of ballistic missiles.
"I’d just like to see some accountability," he said. "And Congress must do it because the administration isn’t."
Daniel Miller, a victim of Hamas terrorism, recalled how suicide bombers destroyed the Jerusalem café that he and his friends were dining at.
Miller said that he and other victims of Iran-sponsored terrorism attempted to sue the Islamic Republic. After winning more than $70 million in damages, the U.S. government stepped in to argue on Iran’s behalf.
"I expected a battle from Iran" to get the money legally owed, Miller said. "What I didn’t expect was the battle we faced from my own government."
Lawyers from the Department of Justice filed a brief during one legal processing to protect Iran from having to pay the victims.
"On one side [of the courtroom] was my legal team representing victims of terrorism, and on the other side was the U.S. sitting with its newfound ally Iran," Miller said.
He also said Obama administration "cares more about protecting Iranian assets than protecting its own terror victims."
Cruz called the story "disgusting," "shameful," and "unacceptable."
Others at the hearing criticized the Obama administration for interceding in a legal case in which American victims of Palestinian terrorists were awarded billions of dollars in damages. The administration argued in an unprecedented briefing to the court earlier this year that this money should not be paid out to the victims because it would financially cripple the Palestinian government.