Al-Ashtar Brigades flag
Al-Ashtar Brigades (AAB) is a Bahraini Shia militant group that plans and commits terrorist attacks against the Government of Bahrain with Iran’s assistance. The group emerged in 2013 when it split from the 14 February Youth Coalition, Bahrain’s oldest Iran-aligned Shia militia. AAB seeks to overthrow Bahrain’s monarchy and has claimed at least 20 attacks in Bahrain, some of which caused fatalities.
Based in Bahrain; its leaders and some members are located in Iran.
TACTICS AND TARGETS
AAB has mostly targeted Bahraini police and security forces, using explosive devices and small arms. In 2019, AAB made its first video statement, in which it threatened to attack US and UK interests in Bahrain. Since its formation, AAB has received weapons and training on explosives from Iran’s IRGC, and Bahraini security forces have interdicted shipments from Iran to AAB that included explosively formed penetrators. AAB has also allied itself with Iranian-backed Iraqi Shia militants and with Lebanese Hizballah for financial and logistic support.
FOREIGN TERRORIST GROUP DESIGNATION
The US State Department designated AAB as a foreign terrorist organization in July 2018 after designating two of its Iran-based members—Ahmad Hasan Yusuf and Alsayed Murtadha Majeed Ramadhan Alawi—in March 2017.