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Terrorism

US, Qatar sanction Gulf-based Hezbollah financial network; Bahrain freezes accounts

“Hezbollah seeks to abuse the international financial system by utilizing global networks of financiers and front companies to support its malign activity,” Blinken said

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The US and Qatar announced “coordinated actions” against a major Hezbollah financial network based in the Gulf, the State Department said Wednesday.

Seven individuals were added to the Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) group for their alleged support to Iran-backed Hezbollah.

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Qatar-based AlDar Properties was also designated for being owned, controlled or directed by one of the designated individuals.

“This represents one of the most significant joint actions we have taken with a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) partner to date and underscores our extensive bilateral cooperation on countering terrorism finance,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in the statement.

Lebanon-based Hezbollah was designated as a terrorist organization by the US in 1997. The GCC followed suit in 2016, and several European and South American countries have also deemed the group a terrorist organization.

“Hezbollah seeks to abuse the international financial system by utilizing global networks of financiers and front companies to support its malign activity,” Blinken said, adding that the US would continue to work with partners to protect the US and international financial systems from terrorist abuse.

“Concurrent with this action, the Government of Bahrain has frozen bank accounts and referred three individuals to their prosecutor’s office,” Blinken noted.

Blinken also said there was “growing international recognition of Hezbollah’s true nature.”

He cited 14 countries in Europe and South and Central America taking significant steps to designate, restrict, or ban Hezbollah in recent years.

“We urge other governments to follow suit,” the top US diplomat said.

Read more: In apparent reference to Hezbollah, UN calls on Lebanon to commit to disassociation