The Qatari government paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom money in less than two years, including to groups regarded as sponsors of terrorism, The Washington Post reports, citing intercepted messages. The payments included at least $150 million in cash to intermediaries, including Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Iraqi paramilitary group Kata’ib Hezbollah, both of which are regarded by the U.S. as sponsors of international terrorism. In total, nine members of the Qatari royal family and 16 Qatari nationals were freed for a total price tag of $275 million, according to the Post. In one intercepted text message, Qatar’s ambassador to Iraq, Zayed bin Saeed al-Khayareen, described the kidnappings as part of a coordinated shakedown by foreign governments. “The Syrians, Hezbollah-Lebanon, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Iraq—all want money, and this is their chance. All of them are thieves,” he was quoted as saying. During a crisis in the region last year amid allegations of funding terrorist groups, Qatar repeatedly denied that it paid terrorist organizations in an effort to free hostages.
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