Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil
|Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil|
|Other names||Yasin al-Suri|
|Occupation||Facilitator and financier|
Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, also known as Yasin al-Suri, is allegedly a senior al-Qaeda facilitator and financier based in Iran, according to the U.S. government. He is only one of five designated terrorists in the $10 million reward category in the U.S. Rewards for Justice Program.
The U.S. State Department says that Khalil is a Syrian national, born in the city of al-Qamishli in 1982. He also has used other aliases such as Yaseen al-Suri, Izz al-Din Abd al-Farid Khalil and Zayn al-Abadin.
The U.S. government first connected Khalil to al-Qaeda when it sanctioned him as the alleged leader of an al-Qaeda fundraising and logistics network in Iran on 28 July 2011. According to the U.S. Treasury Department, Khalil has lived and operated in Iran since 2005 under agreement between al-Qaeda and the Iranian government. In his role as al-Qaeda's representative in Iran, Khalil works with the organization's senior leaders to transfer money and recruits via Iranian territory to Pakistan and Afghanistan. Khalil reportedly tasks new operatives with delivering $10,000 to al-Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan. The al-Qaeda facilitator also allegedly works with the Iranian government to release al-Qaeda members from Iranian prisons and then facilitate their travel to Pakistan. The Wall Street Journal said that the U.S. government's announcement of the Iran-based al-Qaeda network was the first time the U.S. had "formally accused Iran of forging an alliance with al Qaeda."
On 22 December 2011, the U.S. State Department further announced that as part of its Rewards for Justice Program, it is offering up to a $10 million reward for information on the location of Khalil. Khalil is only one of three designated terrorists in the Rewards for Justice $10 million reward bracket along with Taliban head Mullah Omar and al-Qaeda in Iraq chief Abu Dua. Only al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri fetches a higher reward at a $25 million maximum. It also marked the first time that Rewards for Justice offered a reward for information leading to a terrorist financier. At the briefing announcing the reward for information leading to Khalil, Robert Hartung, Assistant Director for the Threat Investigations and Analysis of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, stated, "As a key fundraiser for the al-Qaida terrorist network, he is a continuing danger to the interest of the United States, to its facility, and its citizens. Locating al-Suri and shutting down his operations would eliminate a significant financial resource for al-Qaida."
The Iranian government has rejected as "completely baseless" the charges that Khalil is present in Iran and operating within the country.
- "Rewards for Justice – Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil (a.k.a. Yasin al-Suri) Reward Offer". U.S. Department of State. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- Jay Solomon (29 July 2011). "U.S. Sees Iranian, al Qaeda Alliance". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- "Treasury Targets Key Al-Qa’ida Funding and Support Network Using Iran as a Critical Transit Point". U.S. Department of Treasury. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- "U.S. Offers $10M for Iran-Based Al Qaeda Financier". NewsCore. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.
- "Briefing on New Rewards for Justice Reward Offer". U.S. Department of State. 22 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
- "Iran Rejects US Allegation on Al Qaeda Operative". Reuters. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2011.