US, UN sanction top al Qaeda financial official

The US Treasury and the United Nations have sanctioned a top a Qaeda leader who also is Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law for serving as a top financial official in the terror organization.

Earlier today, Muhammad Abdallah Hasan Abu al Khayr was designated by the US as a specially designated global terrorist under Executive Order 13224 and was also added to the UN’s 1267 sanctions list for al Qaeda and Taliban individuals. The designation allows the US and the UN to freeze the assets of Khayr, prevent him from using financial institutions, and prosecute him for terrorist activities.

Khayr is described by the Treasury as “a key leader of the terrorist organization’s finance section” who “also acts for al Qaeda in a leadership role on the media committee.” He is also known to have recruited at least one member to join al Qaeda.

Khayr’s links to al Qaeda go directly to the top of the terror organization. He is Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law and has also served as one of bin Laden’s bodyguards as a member of the Black Guard, al Qaeda’s elite bodyguard unit for its senior leaders. Several senior al Qaeda leaders — such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Saif al Adel, and Walid bin Attash — rose through the ranks in al Qaeda by serving in the Black Guard.

In addition, while not stated by the Treasury, Khayr is also a senior aide to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s second in command. Khayr is thought to be based in Pakistan along with other top al Qaeda leaders.

The US and the UN designated Khayr as a terrorist in an attempt to disrupt al Qaeda’s financial operations after the death of Mustafa Abu Yazid, al Qaeda’s top financial official and also its leader in Afghanistan. Yazid was killed in a US airstrike in North Waziristan in May.

“After the death in May of Mustafa Abu al Yazid, who essentially served as al-Qaeda’s chief financial officer, we will continue to work with our allies to target those like al Khayr who could step into al Yazid’s shoes,” Stuart Levey, the Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said in the Treasury press release.

Khayr is one of several relatives of bin Laden to hold senior leadership positions in al Qaeda. Two of bin Laden’s sons, Said and Hamza, serve as military commanders, and Said is thought to be bin Laden’s designated heir. Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, served as a senior financier. Khalifa was killed in a US special operations raid in Madagascar in January 2007.


Treasury Designates Al-Qai’da Finance Section Leader, US Treasury press release

Al Qaeda’s Leaders – Mohamed Abul Khair, The Long War Journal

The Black Guard, The Long War Journal

Top al Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu Yazid confirmed killed in airstrike in North Waziristan, The Long War Journal

Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, Osama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, killed in Madagascar, The Long War Journal

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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