US offers USD 20 mln in rewards for info on 4 IS leaders

US offers USD 20 mln in rewards for info on 4 IS leaders

The US has offered rewards amounting to USD 20 million for tips on whereabouts of four top leaders of the Islamic State, a day after the terror group claimed responsibility for its first attack on American soil.

Through its 'Rewards for Justice' programme, the State Department announced yesterday that it would pay up to USD 7 million for information on Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, up to USD 5 million each for Abu Mohammed al-Adnani and Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili and up to USD 3 million for Tariq Bin-al-Tahar Bin al Falih al-'Awni al-Harzi.

According to the department, Qaduli is a senior ISIL official who originally joined al Qaeda's affiliate in Iraq, Adnani is an official ISIL spokesman, Batirashvili is a battlefield commander in northern Syria and Harzi is the group's leader for the border region between Syria and Turkey.

"Qaduli is a senior Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) official who reintegrated himself into ISIL following his release from prison in early 2012 and travelled to Syria to work in a Syria-based ISIL network. Al-Qaduli joined al-Qaeda in 2004 under the command of now deceased al-Qaeda in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and served as his deputy and the AQI amir (leader) of Mosul, Ninawa Province, Iraq," the State Department said.

On May 14, 2014, the US Department of the Treasury designated Qaduli as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Describing Adnani, for whose information a reward of up to USD 5 million is being offered, the State Department states, "Adnani, born Taha Sobhi Falaha in Syria, is the official  spokesman for and a senior leader of ISIL. Al-Adnani is ISIL's main conduit for the dissemination of official messages, including ISIL's declaration of the creation of an Islamic Caliphate."

"Al-Adnani was one of the first foreign fighters to oppose Coalition Forces in Iraq before becoming ISIL's spokesman," it said.

The US State Department designated al-Adnani on August 18, 2014, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

Batirashvili, information about whose whereabouts carries a reward of up to USD 5 million, pledged allegiance to ISIL and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in mid-2013, the State Department said.

Harzi, for whom a reward of up to USD 3 million is being offered, has been described as a high-profile ISIL member who works to raise funds, recruit and facilitate the travel of fighters for the terrorist organisation, it said.

Meanwhile, the White House yesterday said a probe was underway and it was "too early" to link the Islamic State group to the attack in Texas targeting an event centre hosting a controversial cartoon contest concerning Prophet Mohammed.

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