Worthy Christian News » Christian » US Releases "Most Wanted" List, Includes Hizba'Allah Kingpin
U.S. President George W. Bush released Wednesday a list of the United States' "most-wanted terrorists." Heading the 22-man list is Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Also appearing on the list is Imad Fayez Mugniyeh, one of the founder members of the Iranian-backed Hizb'Allah group in Lebanon, who was considered "most wanted" by US officials prior to September 11, CNN reported.
"Terrorism has a face and today we expose it for the world to see," Bush said in Washington yesterday at FBI headquarters, which has been at the epicenter of the massive investigation into the September 11 suicide hijackings. "We list their names, we publicize their pictures, we rob them of their secrecy."
The list comprises those who the U.S. believes to be responsible for attacks against it since 1985. It was compiled by the FBI and the State Department and offers a $5 million cash reward for anyone providing information leading to the arrest of any of the suspects named.
Spokesman for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Raanan Gissin, predicted Thursday that the US investigation would turn up links between the groups responsible and the Palestinian Authority. Gissin said that the fact that the list includes three Hizb'Allah leaders "confirms what we have been saying all along, that no distinction should be drawn between local, regional or international terrorism."
Israel has asked the US to take action against the Palestinian groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, by including them on the list of terrorist groups released after the September 11 attacks. The State Department replied that the two groups are on previous terrorist lists.
Mugniyeh, head of Hizb'Allah's operations overseas, is held responsible by Israel for the bombings of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left 119 dead in the early 1990s.
Mugniyeh is wanted by the US in connection with the hijacking of a TWA flight from Beirut in 1985. An American soldier was murdered in the attack and his body was thrown onto the runway. He is also believed to have been involved with the 1983 bombings that simultaneously destroyed the US and French military barracks in the Lebanese capital, killing almost 300 people.
The list does not refer to the September 11 attacks, although it does include one individual who was involved in the explosion at the Twin Towers in 1993, in which six people were killed.
The largest number of suspects, headed by bin Laden, are wanted for their involvement in the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, in which 224 people were killed.
One man on the list is wanted for planning attacks on twelve civilian Jumbo jets in East Asia that were not carried out.
Four on the list are wanted for their part in the attack on the Khobar Building in Saudi Arabia in 1996, in which 19 American soldiers were killed.
Defense officials here were gratified at the inclusion of Mugniyeh, but cautioned that this could prompt Hizb'Allah to launch attacks on Israeli targets across the northern border or abroad given the fact that by singling out the terrorist leader, the U.S. plans to strike at the organization at a later stage of the war. Israel is already readying for a possible al-Qaida retaliation, Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel Channel 2 Monday.
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday that Israel has indeed received word from American officials that the US intends to carry out actions against the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as well as against Hizb'Allah. According to the information received, these organizations are to be "dealt with" as soon as the U.S. has completed operations in Afghanistan.
A senior Hizb'Allah figure has said that his organization is prepared for any possibility. Last week, the terrorist group launched a mortar and missile attack on Israeli positions in the Mount Dov area.
A Palestinian commander in Ein al-Hilweh, Lebanon, has threatened to reignite the border region between Israel and Lebanon if the American-led military coalition attacked refugees there, Lebanon's DAILY STAR reported. Washington has identified Esbat al-Ansar, an extremist group ensconced in Ein al-Hilweh, as one of the affiliates of Osama bin Laden, said the newspaper. Ein el-Hilweh, which lies outside the southern city of Sidon, is home to 75,000 Palestinians.
Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.