Ali Ibrahim al-Watfa

Ali Ibrahim al-Watfa is a senior member of Hezbollah and the group’s permanent liaison to Sierra Leone.“Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Operatives in West Africa,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 11, 2013, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl1980.aspx. The U.S. accuses him of aiding a Hezbollah fundraising cell in Freetown, Sierra Leone.“Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Operatives in West Africa,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 11, 2013, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl1980.aspx. Al-Watfa reportedly coordinates fundraising through Hezbollah’s Foreign Relations Department.“Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Operatives in West Africa,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 11, 2013, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl1980.aspx. The U.S. called al-Watfa and three other Lebanese nationals in West Africa “ambassadors” for Hezbollah responsible for raising millions of dollars for the group.“Treasury Sanctions Hizballah Operatives in West Africa,” U.S. Department of the Treasury, June 11, 2013, http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl1980.aspx. Al-Watfa denied the charges, calling them “a big surprise” and suggesting he had been set up.David Lewis, “Insight: U.S. and allies target Hezbollah financing, ties in Africa,” Reuters, September 20, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/20/us-syria-crisis-hezbollah-africa-insight-idUSBRE98J04L20130920.

West Africa has become an important region for Hezbollah in recent years as financial sanctions on Iran have diminished the country’s financial support of Hezbollah.David Lewis, “Insight: U.S. and allies target Hezbollah financing, ties in Africa,” Reuters, September 20, 2013, http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/20/us-syria-crisis-hezbollah-africa-insight-idUSBRE98J04L20130920. Hezbollah has been involved in Sierra Leone’s illicit diamond trade for years, according to Hezbollah expert Matthew Levitt of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.Matthew Levitt, “Hezbollah Finances: Funding the Party of God,” Washington Institute for Near East Peace, February 2005, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/hezbollah-finances-funding-the-party-of-god.

Also Known As

Also Known As

Extremist entity
Hezbollah
Type(s) of Organization:
Militia, political party, social-service provider, terrorist, transnational, violent
Ideologies and Affiliations:
Iranian-sponsored, Islamist, jihadist, Khomeinist, Shiite
Position(s):
Permanent liaison to Sierra Leone

Hezbollah is an Iranian-sponsored, internationally sanctioned terrorist group with an anti-Israel and anti-U.S. agenda. Hezbollah is primarily based in Lebanon, but has carried out terrorist and criminal operations around the world.

  • Designations

United States

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Fact:

On December 10, 2019, David Anderson and Francine Graham fatally shot a police detective at the Bay View Cemetery, then attacked the JC Kosher Supermarket and killed three people, in Jersey City, New Jersey. The incident was labeled a terrorist attack and suspected to have an antisemitic motive. Anderson previously belonged to the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which is accused of trading in antisemitism.

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