Lebanese man accused of funneling money from Iran to Hamas found killed: Source

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A Lebanese man under US sanctions for allegedly funneling money from Iran to Palestinian militant group Hamas has been killed just outside Beirut, a security source told AFP on Wednesday.

The body of Mohammed Sarur was found Tuesday in a villa in the mountain town of Beit Mery, the source said, requesting anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

He had been struck by more than five bullets and was found in possession of an undisclosed sum of money that the killers did not touch, the source added.

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Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported late Tuesday that the body of a 57-year-old Lebanese man, identified by initials that correspond to Sarur’s, had been found in an area near Beit Mery.

The security source confirmed to AFP that Sarur was subject to US sanctions, and said he worked for financial institutions belonging to Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, a Hamas ally.

In August 2019, the US Treasury announced sanctions against several people including Sarur, accusing them of funneling “tens of millions of dollars” from the foreign operations arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards through Hezbollah in Lebanon “to Hamas for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip.”

The Treasury said Sarur “served as a middle-man” between the Guards’ Quds Force and Hamas “and worked with Hezbollah operatives to ensure funds were provided” to Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

“As of 2014, Sarur was identified as in charge of all money transfers” between the Quds Force and the Qassam Brigades, the Treasury added.

He also “has an extensive history working at Hezbollah’s sanctioned bank, Bayt al-Mal,” the Treasury said. Washington blacklisted Bayt al-Mal in 2006.

Last month, US Treasury official Jesse Baker met with political and financial officials in Beirut, asking them to prevent funds from transiting through Lebanon to Hamas, media reports said at the time.

Hezbollah has been exchanging near-daily fire with the Israeli military since October 7 when an unprecedented attack by Hamas on Israel triggered war in Gaza.

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