US Adds Leader of 'Ashtar Brigades' to Global Terrorist List

US Adds Leader of 'Ashtar Brigades' to Global Terrorist List

Tuesday, 14 August, 2018 - 12:00
Security forces cordone off the site of a bomb attack west Manama, Bahrain. - Reuters
Manama - Obeid Suhaimi
The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on the Iran-based leader of Bahraini "al-Ashtar Brigades" for engaging in plots to overthrow the government of Bahrain, the State Department said in a statement.

Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmed, also known as al-Muamen, was labeled a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), making him the third member of the organization who had been blacklisted for terror crimes by the US administration. He is currently in Iran and has links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In May last year, the Brigades’ other members, Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and al-Sayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi were also added to the terrorists' list.

Al-Muamen has recruited terrorists in Bahrain and provided al-Ashtar Brigades members with funds, weapons, and explosives to carry out attacks against the Bahraini government added the statement.

“Today’s designation seeks to deny al-Muamen the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks,” the statement said.

“Among other consequences, all of his property and interests subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with him,” said the State Department.

Abdullah formed a cell in 2017 to assassinate top political figures and target oil pipelines. Bahraini Interior Ministry said it had uncovered a terrorist cell of five members, one of whom was arrested, while the security services pursued four of its members who fled to Iran.

It is noteworthy that the bombing of the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline in November of 2017 was carried out by terrorist members of Al-Ashtar Brigades.

In October 2017, Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa announced that Iran is hosting 160 wanted Bahraini who participated and carried out terrorist acts that threatened the security and stability of the country.

The Brigades were uncovered in June of 2015 after several cells belonging to it were arrested for planning a series of terrorist acts, Bahraini officials said, adding that the organization receives instructions from Iran and is trained in Iraq.

The Bahraini security services also revealed the details of the organization, which was formed in late 2012 and its members received training on the manufacture of explosives and the use of weapons.

Cells of the organization carried out a number of terrorist operations between 2013 and 2015, including several bombings in the areas of Sanabis, al-Daih, Budaiya, Shakhoura, al-Maqsha, Diraz, Hamad City and one of the malls.

Al-Ashtar Brigades, along with five other Bahraini terrorist organizations are listed on the terrorism list announced by Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain in June 2017.

British Home Office recognizes al-Ashtar and al-Mukhtar Brigades as Proscribed Terrorist Organisations.

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