Crime & Justice

Information sought on Hizbullah commander in Yemen

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

image

The US State Department is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information on the whereabouts of Haytham Ali Tabatabai, a key Lebanese Hizbullah military leader who commanded Hizbullah special forces in both Syria and Yemen. [Photo courtesy of US State Department Rewards for Justice Programme]

The US State Department is still seeking information on the whereabouts of Haytham Ali Tabatabai, a key Lebanese Hizbullah military leader who commanded Hizbullah special forces in both Syria and Yemen.

The State Department designated Tabatabai as a specially designated global terrorist in October 2016, and in 2018 offered a reward of up to $5 million for information on him as part of its Rewards for Justice Programme.

This reward is still available, it said this week, urging anyone with information on Tabatabai and his activities to come forward.

According to the State Department, "Tabatabai's actions in Syria and Yemen are part of a larger Hizbullah effort to provide training, materiel and personnel in support of its destabilising regional activities".

Tabatabai entered Yemen in 2014, where he was tasked with building a security system around Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi, said Majed al-Madhaji, of the Sanaa Centre for Strategic Studies.

Al-Houthi is currently on trial in absentia in a military court in Marib, along with 174 other Houthi leaders, on charges that include staging a coup against Yemen's legitimate government in 2014.

Once in Yemen, Tabatabai "later helped consolidate the [Houthis'] security system as a whole", al-Madhaji said in a statement.

Curbing Iran's malign activities

The Rewards for Justice programme is part of a US effort to curb the malign activities of Iran and its proxies, especially Hizbullah and its commanders, said Yemen's Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez.

"The US position stresses the need to confront Iran," he told Al-Mashareq.

"This can be seen from its successive decisions against Iran, either by imposing sanctions or taking other measures against it, and also by exposing its acts in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen," Abdul Hafeez said.

"The aim [of the reward] is to fend off the danger posed by Iran and protect the interests of US and its allies," Abaad Centre for Strategic Studies head Abdul Salam Mohammed told Al-Mashareq.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Tabatabai can contact the Rewards for Justice programme via www.rewardsforjustice.net.

Since its inception in 1984, the programme has paid in excess of $150 million to more than 100 individuals who provided credible information that prevented international terrorist attacks or helped to bring terrorists to justice.

Do you like this article?

0 Comment(s)
Comment Policy * Denotes Required Field 1500 / 1500