US offers $10 million reward for info on Hezbollah operative

Politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States on Monday offered a $10 million reward for information on a Hezbollah operative who was convicted last year in the assassination of Lebanon’s former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

The State Department said the reward will be given to anyone who provides information preventing Salim Jamil Ayyash from planning or engaging in any attack against a U.S. citizen or American interests. Ayyash is a senior member of Hezbollah’s Unit 121, an assassination squad that the department said reports to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

The announcement said Ayyash is known to have been involved in efforts to harm American troops in the past. An international tribunal convicted Ayyash in absentia and sentenced him to five life sentences on charges related to the 2005 suicide truck bombing in Beirut that killed Hariri and 21 other people. The tribunal found that Ayyash led the team that carried out the attack.

In addition to its December 2020 verdict, the Netherlands-based court issued new international arrest warrants for Ayyash and authorized its prosecutor to ask Interpol to issue “red notices” to its member states seeking his arrest.

Three other Hezbollah members had been acquitted in August of all charges that they also were involved in the killing that sent shock waves through the Middle East.

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