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Treasury Further Exposes Iran-Based Al-Qa'ida Network

(Archived Content)


Action Targets Key Al-Qa’ida Facilitator Supporting Terrorist Activities in South Asia and the Middle East

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of Adel Radi Saqr al-Wahabi al-Harbi (al-Harbi), a key member of an al-Qa’ida network operating in Iran and led by Iran-based al-Qa’ida facilitator Muhsin al-Fadhli (al-Fadhli).  Today's action, taken pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, follows Treasury’s designation in July 2011 of Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil (AKA Yasin al-Suri) and five other al-Qa’ida members, and underscores that Iran continues to allow al-Qa’ida to operate a core pipeline that moves al-Qa’ida money and fighters through Iran to support al-Qa’ida activities in South Asia.  This network also sends funding and fighters to Syria. 

“Today’s action, which builds on our action from July 2011, further exposes al-Qa’ida’s critically important Iran-based funding and facilitation network,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen.  “We will continue targeting this crucial source of al-Qa’ida’s funding and support, as well as highlight Iran’s ongoing complicity in this network’s operation.”

Today’s designation freezes any assets Al-Harbi holds under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from engaging in transactions with this individual.  E.O. 13224 targets terrorists, terrorist organizations, individuals and entities owned or controlled by or acting for or on behalf of designated terrorists or terrorist organizations, and those providing financial, material, or technological support or financial or other services to designated terrorists or terrorist organizations, or for acts of terrorism. 

Al-Harbi is an Iran-based al-Qa’ida facilitator who serves as the deputy to al-Fadhli.  Al-Fadhli took over the Iran-based facilitation network from Yasin al-Suri in late 2011.  In his capacity as the deputy to al-Fadhli in Iran, al-Harbi facilitates the travel of extremists to Afghanistan or Iraq via Iran on behalf of al-Qa’ida, and is believed to have sought funds to support al-Qa’ida attacks.  Before joining the Iran-based al-Qa’ida network in early 2011, al-Harbi appeared on the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior's Most Wanted List and was charged with traveling to Afghanistan to join al-Qa’ida and providing technical support on the Internet to the terrorist group.

Al-Fadhli is a veteran al-Qa’ida operative who has been active within the terrorist network for years.  Treasury previously designated al-Fadhli pursuant to E.O. 13224 in February 2005 for providing financial and material support to the al-Zarqawi Network and al-Qa’ida.  At that time, al-Fadhli was considered an al-Qa’ida leader in the Gulf and provided support to Iraq-based fighters for attacks against U.S. and multinational forces.  Al-Fadhli was also considered a major facilitator for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and prior to that was involved in several terrorist attacks that took place in October 2002 including the attacks on the French ship MV Limburg and against U.S. Marines on Faylaka Island in Kuwait. 

Al-Fadhli began working with al-Qa’ida’s Iran-based facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by the Iranians.  He was subsequently released by the Iranians in 2011 and went on to assume the leadership of the facilitation network from Yasin al-Suri later that year. 

In addition to providing funding for al-Qa’ida activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, this network is working to move fighters and money through Turkey to support al-Qa’ida-affiliated elements in Syria.  Al-Fadhli also is leveraging his extensive network of Kuwaiti jihadist donors to send money to Syria via Turkey.

Treasury previously took action against this al-Qa’ida funding and support network in July 2011 when it designated Yasin al-Suri and five other al-Qa’ida members pursuant to E.O. 13224.  This network uses Iran as a critical transit point and operates under an agreement between al-Qa’ida and the Iranian government.  Under the terms of the agreement between al-Qa’ida and Iran, al-Qa’ida must refrain from conducting any operations within Iranian territory and recruiting operatives inside Iran while keeping Iranian authorities informed of their activities.  In return, the Government of Iran gave the Iran-based al-Qa’ida network freedom of operation and uninhibited ability to travel for extremists and their families.  Al-Qa’ida members who violate these terms run the risk of being detained by Iranian authorities.  Yasin al-Suri agreed to the terms of this agreement with Iran with the knowledge of now-deceased al-Qa’ida leader ‘Atiyah ‘Abd al Rahman.

The Treasury Department’s action today against al-Harbi is taken in coordination with the State Department’s announcement that it is offering multi-million dollar rewards for information on al-Harbi and al-Fadhli under its Rewards for Justice Program.  In particular, the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security has announced a reward of up to $7 million for information leading to the location of al-Fadhli and $5 million for information leading to the location of al-Harbi.  Previously, the State Department announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the location of Yasin al-Suri.  That reward remains available.  The Rewards for Justice Program administered by the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security has helped target terrorists and prevent terrorism worldwide.


Identifying Information

Individual: Adel Radi Saqr Al-Wahabi Al-Harbi

AKA: 'Adil Radi Saqr al-Wahbi al-Harbi

AKA: Adel Radhi Sager Alharbi

AKA: Muharib

AKA: Abu Ali Muharib

Nationality: Saudi Arabian

POB: Buraydah, Saudi Arabia

DOB: December 1, 1986

National Identity Number: 1059887057

Saudi Passport: J110141; issued April 18, 2010, expiration date February 22, 2015​