Hizbullah denies training Iraqi Shi'ite fighters

Hizbullah denied on Tuesday that it was training fighters from the Mahdi Army, an Iraqi Shi'ite militia blamed in sectarian killings in the war-torn country. The New York Times on Monday quoted a senior US intelligence official who said the Iranian-backed Hizbullah had been providing training for the Mahdi Army. The anonymous official told the Times that 1,000 to 2,000 Shi'ite fighters had been trained by Hizbullah in Lebanon and in Iran. Hussein Rahhal, Hizbullah's media chief, called the report baseless, saying it was part of a US intelligence campaign circulated by the American media to vilify the guerrilla group. "These accusations are hollow and worthless. They reflect the American occupation's impasse in Iraq, where it is trying to blame others for its defeat," Rahhal told The Associated Press.