US Offers Up to $12 Million for Information on Hezbollah Officials

The new measures against the two Hezbollah operatives are widely viewed as part of the administration's broader aim of pressuring Iran and its proxies. Nicholas Rasmussen, the head of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, blamed the group for a series of attacks around the world.

"Everything suggests that we must plan for a serious ground invasion, and there is no invasion without strong fire". However, Hezbollah, under the name "Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc", has members in the Lebanese parliament and ministers in the country's Cabinet.

"When the next campaign begins, and it doesn't matter where it begins, in the north or the south, it will immediately become a two-front campaign".

Washington is offering $7 million for information that leads to the arrest of Talal Hamiyah and $5 million for Fu'ad Shukr.

Avigdor Lieberman made his comments in a speech to army officers at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on Monday on the eve of the Yom Kippur holiday.

According to IDF assessments, Hezbollah has increased its military capabilities due to its fighting in Syria, and has spread its troops across the entire Middle East. In addition to a massive arsenal of rockets and missiles, Hezbollah is able to mobilize close to 30,000 fighters and has flouted its tunnel system, complete with ventilation, electricity and rocket launchers.

"Some countries have chosen to designate only Hezbollah's military wing, leaving its so-called political wing untouched", he said. During the press conference, for instance, Sales called it a "terrorist group from A to Z". Shukur is accused of being involved in a major attack in Beirut in 1983 that killed 241 US service personnel were killed.

But Lebanon - long a recipient of U.S. humanitarian and military aid - is also a long-term partner in the fight against the Islamic State and other Sunni terrorist groups. "They are false accusations that will not have any effect on the operational activities of Hezbollah", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. After a July meeting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri in July, Trump suggested the organization was an enemy of the government.

"The ESO is the Hezbollah element responsible for the planning, coordination, and execution of terrorist attacks outside of Lebanon", the U.S. statement said.

"While I'm not here today to speak publicly about any specific, or credible, or imminent threat to the homeland", Mr Rasmussen told reporters, "We in the intelligence community do in fact see continued activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland".

Vanessa Coleman

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