Al-Ashtar Brigades

Top Alert – Entity designated / sanctioned for terror, WMD and human rights violation

The al-Ashtar Brigades (Saraya al-Ashtar, named after Malik al-Ashtar) is a Shiite militant group in Bahrain designated as a terrorist organization by the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

AAB is an Iran-backed terrorist organization aimed at overthrowing the Bahraini government. AAB has claimed responsibility for numerous terrorist attacks against police and security targets in Bahrain. In March 2014, AAB conducted a bomb attack that killed two local police officers and an officer from the United Arab Emirates. In January 2017, AAB shot and killed a local police officer. AAB has also called for violence against the Bahraini, British, Saudi Arabian, and U.S. governments on social media;

In January 2018, AAB formally adopted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) branding and reaffirmed its loyalty to Tehran to reflect its role in an Iranian network of state and non-state actors that operates against the United States and its allies in the region. Additionally, AAB members have received weapons and explosives from Iran, training at IRGC-funded camps in Iraq, and senior AAB members have taken refuge in Iran to evade prosecution by Bahraini authorities;

Al Ashtar Brigades recieved training in improvised explosive devices from the Hezbollah Brigades;

Ashtar’s social media activities and claims of attack have been sporadic in recent years;

It claimed dozens of small-scale bombings in 2013 and 2014, including a March 2014 bomb attack that killed two Bahraini and one Emirati police officer;

In 2015, it released a spate of videos claiming IED attacks on Bahraini security forces;

In Jan. 2016, a cell linked to Ashtar Brigades was arrested by Bahraini authorities. According to officials, the two-person cell was planning to execute “a series of dangerous bombings” in Bahrain;

They traveled to Iran on several occasions for financial and logistic support with the IRGC;

In 2012, Bahraini authorities allege the Ashtar cell members met with Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah in Lebanon and received $20,000 “in support of their organization.”;

Also Known As:
Saraya Al-Ashtar



Person of interests:
Ahmad Hasan Yusuf
Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi

Reason for the color:
» The Department of State has designated al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) – an Iran-backed terrorist group in Bahrain – as a Foreign Terrorist Organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act. The Department has also designated AAB as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) under section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224;

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