Saudi Arabia, US blacklist senior Hezbollah leader

Press Releases: State Department Terrorist Designations of Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi

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Saudi Arabia said on Friday it had blacklisted Hashem Safieddine, a prominent leader of the Lebanese Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah that is a close ally of Riyadh's arch-regional adversary Iran.

The Trump administration imposed its first terrorism sanctions jointly with Saudi Arabia today as President Donald Trump travels to the kingdom on his first overseas trip.

The Saudi government today designated a Leader of Hezbollah, whose name is Hashem Safieddine - born in 1964 in Tyre area off southern Lebanon - since he is responsible for committing operations in the interest of Hezbollah in the Middle East, providing advice to launch terrorist operations, and support Alasd regime. As a outcome of these designations, US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Safieddine and al-Isawi, and all of Safieddine's and al-Isawi's property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked. As a result, any of his assets held in Saudi Arabia are frozen, and transfers through the Kingdom's financial sector, are prohibited. The Safieddine designation is also consistent with the USA government's ongoing effort to expose and apply pressure against the actions of Hizballah, which is supported by the foremost State Sponsor of Terrorism, Iran. He also spent time in an Egyptian prison before escaping during the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

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The Trump administration said the four men have "committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism" and threaten US national security. ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai originally operated under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which was designated as an FTO in September 2014.

Though the State Department did not cite any recent terrorist attack connected to Safieddine, it noted the 1983 suicide truck bombings carried out by Hezbollah at the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 17 American civilians and 241 U.S. troops.

Al-Isawi, who is also known as Abu Usama al-Masri, has been leading the Islamic State's affiliate in the Sinai Peninsula since August 2016.

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