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April 18, 2023 3:39 pm

US Marks 40th Anniversary of Beirut Embassy Bombing with New Sanctions Against Hezbollah

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A supporter of Lebanon’s Hezbollah gestures as he holds a Hezbollah flag in Marjayoun, Lebanon Photo: Reuters/Aziz Taher

The United States on Tuesday marked the 40th anniversary of the deadly bombing of the US Embassy in the Lebanese capital Beirut by announcing multi-million dollar rewards for information leading to the arrests of two senior operatives of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist organization behind the attack.

The US State Department’s Rewards for Justice program confirmed a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the identification, location, arrest, or conviction of Ibrahim Aqil — also known as Tahsin — a member of the Jihad Council, Hezbollah’s highest body.

“During the 1980s, Aqil was a principal member of Hezbollah’s terrorist cell the Islamic Jihad Organization, which claimed responsibility for the bombings of the US Embassy in Beirut in April 1983, which killed 63 people, and the US Marine Corps barracks in October 1983, which killed 241 US personnel,” a State Department statement noted. It added that during the same decade, “Aqil directed the taking of American and German hostages in Lebanon and held them there.”

Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department revived an existing reward of $10 million for information regarding Nazem Said Ahmad, a Hezbollah financier and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The department is targeting what it called “a global sanctions evasion network that facilitates the payment, shipment, and delivery of cash, art, and luxury goods for the benefit of [Ahmad].”

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“These actions are being coordinated among the Departments of State, the Treasury, Justice, Homeland Security, and Commerce, as well as with the United Kingdom, to target on elements of the network,” a statement from the Treasury Department noted.  “Today’s actions highlight the tactics used by sanctions evaders, trade-based money launderers, and supporters of terrorism, as well as the risks of conducting business in permissive industries, such as the art, diamond, and precious gems markets.”

Hezbollah was designated as a terrorist organization by the US in 1997.

In separate remarks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken commemorated the victims of the “heinous terrorist attack” on the embassy.

“Despite Hezbollah’s efforts to use terror to drive a wedge between the United States and the Lebanese people, our close cooperation has only deepened in the 40 years since this reprehensible attack,” Blinken declared. “The United States maintains its resolve to pursue justice for the victims and remains vigilant in the global fight against terrorism.  We continue to work actively in Beirut with the Lebanese people in support of a stronger, more secure, and more prosperous Lebanon.”


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