US brands Bahrain militant a global terrorist

Manama: Bahrain has welcomed the designation of Qassim Abdullah Ali Ahmad, known as Qassim Al Muamen, one of the Iran-based leaders of Al Ashtar Brigades (AAB) as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).

In a statement on Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that it “expresses its sincere appreciation of this important step by the United States, which is a reflection of America’s concern for the security and stability of of Bahrain as a strategic ally.”

The ministry said it saw the designation as part of the on-going US efforts to confront terrorism and combat its financing for the sake of international peace and security, the statement added.

Al Muamen has recruited “terrorists in Bahrain” and “facilitated training on weapons and explosives for Al Ashtar Brigades members and supplied them with funding, weapons, and explosives to carry out attacks,” the State Department statement said.

He had been identified as a key member of a plot by Al Ashtar Brigades to “assassinate prominent figures in Bahrain and target three oil pipelines.”

In July, the State Department designated Al Ashtar Brigades as a foreign terrorist organisation.

Al Ashtar Brigades claimed responsibility for numerous vicious attacks against innocent civilians, and security personnel, causing significant damage to public and private property. The department had designated two leaders from Al Ashtar as SDGTs in March 2017.

Al Ashtar Brigades is among several militant groups that receive extensive support from Iran and its affiliated factions throughout the region. This support includes the funnelling of funding, weaponry and high-grade explosives, as well as the transfer of knowledge and training at Iranian Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) campsites. This has enabled Al Ashtar and similar groups to sustain themselves.

In December, the UK Parliament approved a government order proscribing Al Ashtar Brigades as a terrorist organisation.


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