WASHINGTON: The U.S. Thursday imposed financial sanctions on four men it said were leaders of Hezbollah, accusing them of trying to spread terrorism in the Middle East.
One of the four men, Khalil Harb, planned attacks in Israel and neighboring countries, the Treasury Department said in a statement. Last year Harb started channeling money to Yemen, including a $50,000 monthly payment to a Yemeni political party, it added, but did not say which party.
The Treasury said another man, Mohammad Kawtharani, funded armed groups in Iraq and helped transport Iraqi fighters to Syria to join President Bashar Assad’s effort to halt the 2-year-old revolt against his rule.
The other two men, Mohammad Youssef Ahmad Mansour and Mohammad Qabalan, were accused of leading attacks against tourists in Egypt as part of a Hezbollah cell.
Hezbollah’s intervention in Syria helped spur the European Union last month to put the armed wing of the group on its terrorist blacklist.
The Treasury’s move Thursday, although largely symbolic, effectively cut the four men off from the U.S. financial system and any dealings with U.S. citizens.
David Cohen, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said U.S. sanctions could also encourage foreign banks, including those in Lebanon, to stop dealing with the men. “By laying out in detail the activities of these Hezbollah leaders, we have exposed for the entire world to see ... what Hezbollah really is all about, which is exporting terrorist activity in a number of jurisdictions around the world,” Cohen told reporters.
He said further information could also prompt U.S. partners in the European Union and Gulf countries to further restrict Hezbollah’s activities and funding.