Wednesday, 19 Jan 2022 - 17 of Shevat, 5782
USA

Son of Hezbollah leader designated as terrorist by U.S. State Department

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WASHINGTON—The U.S. State Department this week officially designated Jawad Nasrallah, along with the Al-Mujahidim Brigades, as terrorists, subjecting them to the toughest sanctions.

Jawad Nasrallah is the son of Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and the State Department said his designation was a result of known terrorist plots and attempts to carry out suicide bombings and shootings in the West Bank in 2016.

The Al-Mujahidin Brigades is a military organisation with close links to Hezbollah, that has been operating in the Gaza strip since 2005.

In a lecture to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Nathan A. Sales, U.S.
Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, stressed that the State Department’s mandatory five-year review of Hezbollah ‘’has once again determined that the group must and will remain on our list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.’’

‘’This means all of Hezbollah. We reject the false distinction between Hezbollah’s terrorist wing and a purportedly peaceful “political wing.” Hizballah is one organization. It is a terrorist organization, root and branch,’’ he said.

The US Counterterrorism coordinator stressed that “Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism,” which provides “Hezbollah with $700 million a year” and “$100 million to various Palestinian terrorist groups”. He said: “Hezbollah’s ambitions and global reach rival those of al-Qaida and ISIS. In recent years, Hezbollah operatives have been caught preparing attacks as far afield as Azerbaijan, Bolivia, Cyprus, Egypt, Peru, and Thailand.”

Sales provided further detail on Iran’s global activity saying: “An Iranian operative was arrested for planning assassinations in Denmark. This summer, authorities in Germany, Belgium, and France collaborated to thwart a plot to bomb a political rally near Paris. They arrested several Iranian operatives – including an Iranian spy operating under diplomatic cover in Austria. Ordinarily, the arrest of a purported diplomat for planning a terrorist attack would be unprecedented. For Iran, it’s business as usual. Earlier this year, the Treasury sanctioned a number of Hezbollah front companies and facilitators in West Africa. These included fishing, car rentals, food processing, even pig farming in Liberia.”

The U.S. Department of State has also announced rewards of up to $5 million each for information or identification leading to the capture of the following terrorist figures: Hamas leader Saleh al-Aruri, and Hezbollah leaders Khalil Yusif Mahmoud Harb and Haytham ‘Ali Tabataba’i.

Aruri is a deputy of Hamas’s political bureau and a founder of the group’s military wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades.

He is currently living “freely in Lebanon, where he reportedly is working with Qasem Soleimani, leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force. Aruri funded and directed Hamas military operations in the West Bank and has been linked to several terrorist attacks, hijackings, and kidnappings,” according to the State Department.

Harb is a close adviser to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, and has served as the organization’s chief military liaison to Iran and to Palestinian terrorist groups. He has commanded and supervised Hezbollah’s military actions in the Palestinian territories and in several Middle Eastern countries.

Tabataba’i is a crucial Hezbollah military leader and has commanded Hezbollah’s special forces in both Yemen and Syria. Tabataba’i’s actions in those places “are part of a larger Hezbollah effort to provide training, materiel and personnel in support of its destabilizing regional activities,” according to the State Department.

As of 1997, both Hamas and Hezbollah are U.S.-designated terrorist entities.

JNS contributed to this report.

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