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Two Iran-backed Bahrainis are global terrorists: State Department

Manama: Bahrain has welcomed a decision by the US Department of State to designate two Bahrainis affiliated with “Al Ashtar Brigades” group as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT).

“This stance reflects the position of the friendly United States of America to combat terrorism in all its forms and to confront whoever supports it, incites others to commit terrorist act or shows sympathy with terrorists,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“It also represents concrete support to the efforts of the Kingdom in the consolidation of peace and security and an important impetus and motivation to combating terrorism under all its forms regionally and internationally.”

The ministry late on Friday said that Bahrain was looking forward to “a shift in the way the entire international community dealt with the phenomenon of terrorism by adopting a holistic strategy with security, political, cultural and media components, to ensure the eradication of the grave phenomenon and the drying up of its funding sources.”

Earlier, the State Department announced that it designated Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224.

The order imposes sanctions on non-Americans who “have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of US nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.”

As a consequence of the designations, US citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions or dealings with either of the two terrorists and their property and interests that are subject to US jurisdiction are frozen.
“Today’s actions follow a recent increase in militant attacks in Bahrain, where Iran has provided weapons, funding, and training to militants,” the State Department said.

“This marks yet another step in our continued effort to aggressively target Iran’s destabilizing and terrorism-related activities in the region. We will continue to stand with Bahrain in addressing these threats. Alawi is affiliated with the Bahrain-based Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) and Yusuf is an Iran-based AAB senior member. AAB receives funding and support from the Government of Iran – a state sponsor of terrorism.” 

Al Ashtar has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks – some of which have resulted in casualties – mainly against police and security targets in Bahrain. 

On March 3, 2014, Al Ashtar conducted a bomb attack in the village of Daih in the suburbs of the capital Manama that killed two local policemen Mohammed Raslan and Ammar Abdu Ali Mohammad and UAE army officer First Lieutenant Tariq Al Shehi and wounded 13 others.

AAB targets the security services of Gulf countries, such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, the State Department added.

“Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the US financial system. Moreover, designations assist and complement law enforcement actions of other US agencies and other governments to counter terrorist groups and individuals.”