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Hind Al Soulia – Riyadh – WASHINGTON — US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Iran on Tuesday of providing a new operational headquarters to the Al-Qaeda terror network and announced news sanctions on Iranian officials.
In a speech, Pompeo said that since 2015, Tehran has allowed Al-Qaeda figures in the country to freely communicate with other Al-Qaeda members and perform many functions that were previously directed from Afghanistan and Pakistan, including authorization for attacks, propaganda, and fundraising.
Pompeo also said that in 2016, the US Treasury Department identified and sanctioned three senior al-Qa’ida operatives residing in Iran and noted that Iran had knowingly permitted these Al-Qaeda members, including several of the 9/11 hijackers, to transit its territory on their way to Afghanistan for training and operational planning.
“The Iran-Al-Qa’ida axis poses a grave threat to the security of nations and to the American homeland itself,” the US secretary of state stressed.
Pompeo announced the designations of Iran-based al-Qaeda leaders Muhammad Abbatay (also known as Abd al-Rahman al-Maghrebi), and Sultan Yusuf Hasan Al-Arif as specially designated global terrorists. He also announced the designations of Isma’il Fu’ad Rasul Ahmed, Fuad Ahmad Nuri Ali Al-Shakhan, and Niamat Hama Rahim Hama Sharif as leaders of the Al-Qaeda Kurdish Battalions (AQKB), an Al-Qaeda-linked group that operates on the border between Iran and Iraq.
“The United States is also committed to seeing that Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership based in Iran faces justice. The Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is announcing a reward for up to $7 million for information leading to the location or identification of Abd-Al-Rahman Al-Maghrebi, an Iran-based key leader of the Al-Qaeda terrorist group,” Pompeo said.
He also said that the US State Department is also re-advertising previously announced reward offers on three additional senior Al-Qaeda leaders, including two operating in Iran: Sayf Al-Adel and Yasin Al-Suri. — Agencies
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