04262019Fri

US puts sanctions on Iraq Shiite group, Iran adviser

ImageAFP: The United States imposed financial sanctions Thursday on an adviser to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a Iraq-based Shiite group Kata'ib Hezbollah, branded a foreign terrorist outfit.

ImageWASHINGTON (AFP) — The United States imposed financial sanctions Thursday on an adviser to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and a Iraq-based Shiite group Kata'ib Hezbollah, branded a foreign terrorist outfit.

The US Treasury Department said it froze the assets of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, an adviser to the commander of Iran's Qods Force, an arm of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and Shiite "extremist" group Kata'ib Hezbollah for being a security threat in Iraq.

Al-Muhandis was identified also with 19 aliases.

The IRGC was accused of providing material support to various militant groups -- Lebanon-based Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command.

Further, the IRGC-Qods Force provided "lethal support to Kata'ib Hezbollah and other Iraqi Shia militia groups who target and kill" US or Coalition troops and Iraqi security forces, a Treasury statement said.

The IRGC-Qods Force was named a "specially designated global terrorist" group by the Treasury Department in 2007.

The State Department also on Thursday designated Kata'ib Hizballah a "foreign terrorist organization" for allegedly "committing or posing a significant risk of committing acts of terrorism."

"Al-Muhandis and Kata'ib Hezbollah have committed, directed, supported, or posed a significant risk of committing acts of violence against Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces," the statement said.

Between March 2007 and June 2008, Baghdad-based Kata'ib Hezbollah members participated in multiple rocket-propelled grenade and improvised rocket-assisted mortar attacks against US forces, it said.

It alleged that Kata'ib Hezbollah was funded by the IRGC-Qods Force and received weapons training and support from Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

In one instance, the statement said, Hezbollah provided training to Kata'ib Hezbollah members in Iran.

The Treasury sanctions came under under an executive order targeting insurgent and militia groups and their supporters.

"These designations play a critical role in our efforts to protect coalition troops, Iraqi security forces, and civilians from those who use violence against innocents to intimidate and to undermine a free and prosperous Iraq," said Stuart Levey, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

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