US declares Hizballah leader's son 'global terrorist'
The son of Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah was declared a "global terrorist” by the US State Department on Tuesday, amid increased pressure on the Lebanese militia group.
Jawad Nasrallah was dubbed a "rising leader" of the group, who in recent years had recruited people "to carry out terrorist attacks against Israel in the West Bank."
The State Department also added the al-Mujahidin Brigades, a Hizballah-linked group based in the Palestinian Territories, to its Specially Designated Global Terrorists list.
"Today's designations seek to deny Nasrallah and AMB the resources to plan and carry out terrorist attacks," the department said.
The designations serve to block any property those sanctioned have under US jurisdiction, and ban Americans and US businesses from dealing with them.
Earlier on Tuesday, the US Treasury placed sanctions on four men it said were key to Hizballah in Iraq, helping it to move money, acquire weapons and communicate with Iran.
Those four were Shibl Muhsin 'Ubayd al-Zaydi, Yusuf Hashim, Adnan Hussein Kawtharani, and Muhammad 'Abd-Al-Hadi Farhat.
The Treasury said al-Zaydi was a key coordinator between Hizballah, Iran's blacklisted Revolutionary Guards, and their supporters in Iraq.
He is close to alleged Hizballah financier Adham Tabaja, and coordinated the smuggling of oil from Iran into Syria.
He also sent Iraqi fighters to Syria allegedly on behalf of the Revolutionary Guard, the Treasury said.
The other three were also involved in collecting intelligence and moving money for Hizballah in Iraq, it said.
Lebanon's prime minister-designate Saad Hariri on Tuesday accused Hizballah of holding up the formation of a new government as it seeks stronger representation for itself and its allies.
Washington, however, does not regard Hizballah as a legitimate political actor, but a front for US nemesis Iran.
"Hizballah is a terrorist proxy for the Iranian regime that seeks to undermine Iraqi sovereignty and destabilize the Middle East," said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.
"Treasury's concerted actions aim to deny Hizballah's clandestine attempts to exploit Iraq to launder funds, procure weapons, train fighters, and collect intelligence as a proxy for Iran," Mandelker said in a statement.
Hizballah and its longtime leader Hassan Nasrallah have been on US terror-related sanctions lists for years.
Washington consider the Shia paramilitary group a close ally and client of Iran, supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and threatening Israel.
But in Lebanon it is one of the country's three powerful political factions and was for decades hailed across the Arab world as the most prominent pro-Palestinian resistance group.
Agencies contributed to this report.
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