New US sanctions target Hamas and Islamic State terrorist groups
The United States on Tuesday announced sanctions on a “wide range of terrorists and their supporters”, including the Palestinian group Hamas and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), on the eve of the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
The targets include 15 leaders, individuals and entities affiliated with groups such as Hamas, al-Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) and Iran’s IRGC, the US Treasury Department said in a statement.
The sanctions were applied using new tools from an executive order recently updated by President Donald Trump.
“Since the horrific attacks of 9/11, the US government has refocused its counterterrorism efforts to constantly adapt to emerging threats,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in the statement.
“President Trump’s modernised counterterrorism Executive Order enhances the authorities we use to target the finances of terror groups and their leaders to ensure they are as robust as possible,” Mnuchin said.
Sanctioned leaders include Turkey-based Zaher Jabarin, the head of Hamas’s financial office; and Muhammad Sa’id Izadi, the chief of the IRGC-Quds Force’s Palestinian office in Lebanon.
The targets also included a Brazil-based al-Qaeda member, a Maldivian national who recruits for the ISIL branch active in Afghanistan, and an operative of the ISIL affiliate in the Philippines, the statement said.
Several exchange houses, and a jewellery company in southern Turkey, were also designated by the Treasury.
The sanctions mean any property the targets may have in the US would be blocked and US persons would generally be prohibited from having business dealings with them.
Eric Lorber, a former Treasury Department senior adviser, said the new order is a “significant change”.
“While most financial institutions would not have done business with designated terrorists even before this new authority, this action makes clear that the US Treasury is willing to take serious steps to punish those financial institutions that do,” Lorber said.