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US offers $10m reward for information on Hezbollah chief

Hezbollah's leader gives a televised address to Lebanese supporters following the assassination of Soleimani [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 April, 2020

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Mohammed Kawtharani is thought to have taken over the political coordination of pro-Iran paramiliaries, a role formerly conducted by Qasem Soleimani.
The United States announced on Friday a $10 million reward for "any information on the activities, networks and associates" of Mohammad Kawtharani, a Lebanese Hezbollah commander suspected of playing a key role in coordinating pro-Iran groups in Iraq.

Kawtharani is a senior official of the Lebanese Shia movement in Iraq, "and has taken over some of the political coordination of Iran-aligned paramilitary groups formerly organised by Qassim Suleimani", the US State Department said in a statement.

Soleimani, a powerful leader of the Revolutionary Guard, the ideological army of Tehran, was killed in early January in an American strike targeting him in Baghdad.

Kawtharani was among Soleimani's entourage at Baghdad airport when the commander was killed alongside the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Forces [PMF] second-in-command, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Read also: The Iraq Report: Can new PM-designate Kadhimi unite Iraq's fractured political scene?

According to Washington, Kawtharani, already on the US blacklist for terrorism since 2013, "facilitates the actions of groups operating outside the control of the Government of Iraq that have violently suppressed protests" or "attacked foreign diplomatic missions".

The State Department, which considers Hezbollah a terrorist organisation, added that the official promoted the interests of the group in Iraq by participating in "training, funding, political and logistical support" of Shia insurgent groups.

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