WASHINGTON The United States on Thursday announced it was establishing a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to Yasin al-Suri, who is accused of operating from Iran as a facilitator and financier for al Qaeda.
The bounty is the first offered for an al Qaeda financier and is aimed at disrupting a financial network that has operated from within Iran's borders since 2005, said Eytan Fisch, a senior Treasury Department official.
Robert Hartung, a senior State Department official, said that under an agreement between al Qaeda and the government of Iran, al-Suri had helped move money and recruits through Iran to al Qaeda leaders in neighboring countries.
Hartung said al-Suri, who is originally from Syria, also was known as Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil.
The U.S. Treasury Department in July blacklisted al-Suri and five other members of his network, exposing what the United States says are direct links between Tehran and the al Qaeda network.
Hartung said al-Suri's network serves as an important conduit for channeling both money and fighters from around the Middle East to al Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
"He is a dedicated terrorist working in support of al Qaeda with the support of the government of Iran," Hartung said. "As a key fundraiser for the al Qaeda terrorist network, he is a continuing danger to the interests of the United States."
Since 1984 the U.S. Rewards for Justice program has paid more than $100 million to more than 70 people who provided credible information that either prevented terrorist attacks or helped bring accused terrorists to justice, the State Department's Hartung said.
(Reporting By Andrew Quinn; Editing by Sandra Maler)