The US has announced that it’s offering a total of $12 million in rewards for the capture of two senior Hezbollah members, saying the Shia group is plotting attacks inside the US. The announcement comes as Washington contemplates canceling the Iran nuclear deal.
A $7-million bounty applies to Talal Hamiyah, head of Hezbollah’s external operations. Another $5 million is being offered for Fuad Shukr, the group’s senior military official, accused of masterminding a 1983 Beirut barracks bombing that killed 241 US Marines.
“It’s our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook,” US National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen said, citing recent arrests of alleged Hezbollah operatives in New York and Michigan. “And that is something that those of us in the counter-terrorism community take very, very seriously.”
The State Department designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist organization in October 8, 1997. In February, the US offered a $5 million bounty for Mohammed Ali Hamadei, a Hezbollah member who allegedly took part in the 1985 hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in which US sailor Robert Stethem was killed.