US offers $10 mn reward for information to disrupt Hezbollah finances

Tips sollicited on sources of support.
Tuesday 23/04/2019
This April 20, 2017 file photo, shows a Hezbollah fighter holding an Iranian-made anti-aircraft missile on the border with Israel, in Naqoura, south Lebanon. (AP)
This April 20, 2017 file photo, shows a Hezbollah fighter holding an Iranian-made anti-aircraft missile on the border with Israel, in Naqoura, south Lebanon. (AP)

WASHINGTON - The United States on Monday offered a $10 million reward for information that would disrupt the finances of Lebanon's Shia militant movement Hezbollah.

The State Department said it would give the money to anyone who provides intelligence that allows the United States to disrupt Hezbollah in key ways.

The areas include information on Hezbollah's donors, on financial institutions that assist its transactions and on businesses controlled by the movement.

President Donald Trump's administration has put a top priority on reducing the influence of Iran, the primary backer of Hezbollah.

The State Department listed three alleged Hezbollah financiers as examples of activities it was seeking to stop, with one, Ali Youssef Charara, allegedly funding the group by investing millions of dollars from Hezbollah in the telecommunications industry in West Africa.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has pointed to a recent appeal by Hezbollah for donations as a sign of US success in curbing Iran.

On a visit last month to Beirut, Pompeo urged Lebanon to counter the "dark ambitions" of Iran and Hezbollah but was rebuffed by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who said Hezbollah was not a terrorist group and enjoyed a wide base.

The United States has vowed for decades to fight Shia militants in Lebanon, with memories still bitter over the 1983 attack on a military barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans.

Hezbollah also functions as a political party, with posts in the cabinet.

(Agence France-Presse)