Senior member of the Iran-backed terror group was convicted in absentia for the 2005 assassination of Lebanon’s Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
By Yakir Benzion, United With Israel
The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice program announced Monday that it is offering a reward of up to $10 million for information that will lead them to the whereabouts of a top Hezbollah terrorist responsible for the 2005 car bomb assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
The bombing killed 21 other people and left 226 wounded, many of them with permanent injuries.
Salim Jamil Ayyash is a senior operative in the assassination unit of the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon. The reward will be paid for information leading to “preventing him from engaging in an act of international terrorism against a U.S. person or U.S. property,” the State Department statement said.
Ayyash is a top terrorist in Hezbollah’s Unit 121, the group’s assassinations squad which receives its orders directly from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
“Ayyash is known to have been involved in efforts to harm U.S. military personnel,” the statement said.
On December 11, 2020, an international tribunal sentenced Ayyash in absentia to five concurrent sentences of life imprisonment on terrorism-related charges pertaining to the February 2005 suicide truck bombing.
The tribunal found that Ayyash led the ‘assassination team’ that carried out the attack on Hariri and was actively involved in the assassination on the day of the attack.
The State Department said more information about the reward offer is on the Rewards for Justice website at www.rewardsforjustice.net.
“We encourage anyone with information on Salim Jamil Ayyash to text the Rewards for Justice office via Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp at +1-202-702-7843. All information will be kept strictly confidential,” the statement said.
The Rewards for Justice Program is administered by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. Since its inception in 1984, the program has paid in excess of $200 million to more than 200 people who provided actionable information that helped bring terrorists to justice or prevented acts of international terrorism worldwide.
Armed, trained, funded and guided by Iran, Hezbollah has been classified as a terror organization my most western countries and is widely seen as the destabilizing force that threatens to destroy Lebanon.
Last year, U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea called out Hezbollah as a ruthless, thieving band of thugs, which got her banned from appearing on Lebanese television.
In a video interview, she warned that Hezbollah “has siphoned off billions of dollars that were meant to go into government coffers and into necessary economic reforms.”
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