German al Qaeda leader sanctioned by US Treasury


Bekkay Harrach, alias Al Hafidh Abu Talha al Almani, from his latest video.

A senior al Qaeda leader based in Pakistan’s tribal areas who has recently starred in al Qaeda’s propaganda aimed at Germany has been sanctioned by the US Treasury Department.

Bekkay Harrach, a German national who is based along the Afghan-Pakistani border, has been designated as a terrorist under Executive Order 13224 “for acting for or on behalf of al Qaeda.” The designation allows the US to freeze his assets, prevent him from using financial institutions, and prosecute him for terrorist activities. In May 2009, Harrach was designated as a terrorist by the UN Security Council’s al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee.

Harrach, who goes by the alias Abu Talha al Almani, has been a member of al Qaeda since March of 2007, according to the German Federal Public Prosecutor.

Harrach worked part time at the Muhadshirin Mosque in Bonn, where he was recruited by al Qaeda scout Aleem Nasir and received a letter of recommendation that opened doors to the terror network’s training camps. He is known to have received military training in an al Qaeda camp in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Abu Ubaidah al Masri, al Qaeda’s external operations chief until his death in early 2008, assigned Harrach to his branch, which is tasked with striking at the West. Harrach quickly rose through the ranks and became a member of the external operations council, a senior US military intelligence official told The Long War Journal. He is provided personal protection by Siraj Haqqani, the military commander of the Haqqani Network, which is based in Eastern Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal agency of North Waziristan.

Harrach has also become a senior propagandist for al Qaeda. In September, Harrach released several propaganda videos that focused on the German elections. In one video, Harrach threatened to conduct attacks in German cities.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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