World News

New sanctions target suspected Hamas financial networks and Iran-linked actors by US and allies

The U.S. Treasury Department has applied new sanctions targeting an Iraqi airline and multiple Middle Eastern groups with suspected ties to the Iran’s Islamic regime.

The U.S. Treasury Department has applied new sanctions targeting an Iraqi airline and multiple Middle Eastern groups with suspected ties to the Iran’s Islamic regime.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Iraqi airline operator Fly Baghdad for sanctions, alleging the airline operator and its CEO, Basheer Abdulkadhim Alwan al-Shabbani, have provided assistance to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps–Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and suspected Iranian proxy groups active in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

The Treasury Department alleges Fly Baghdad has flown fighters, weapons, and money to Syria and Lebanon to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s ongoing civil war. The Treasury Department alleges Fly Baghdad provides a linkage for Iranian-made Fateh, Zulfiqar, and al-Fajr series missiles, as well as AK-47s, RPG-7s, and other grenades and machine guns going to pro-Assad forces in the region.

In addition to designating Fly Baghdad and Mr. Shabbani, OFAC also announced new sanctions against three leaders of the Kata‘ib Hezbollah, an Iran-aligned Iraqi militia. Kata’ib Hezbollah is part of the Iraqi state-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)—an organization overseeing paramilitary forces organized to fight the ISIS terrorist group.

While U.S. forces and PMF militias both operate with the Iraqi government’s blessing to combat ISIS, the U.S. and PMF factions have directly clashed in recent years. The U.S. government has previously added the Kata’ib Hezbollah and other PMF factions to its Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) list.

The Kata‘ib Hezbollah leaders targeted with new U.S. sanctions on Monday include Hossein Moanes al-Ibudi, a senior member of Kata’ib Hezbollah currently leading the group’s Iraqi political party.

Related Stories

The Role of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Israel–Hamas Conflict
Hamas Airs Video Purporting to Show 2 Israeli Hostages Killed in Captivity

Also among the list of newly sanctioned Kata’ib Hezbollah members is Riyad Ali Hussein al-Azzawi. The Treasury Department believes Mr. Azzawi is an unmanned aerial vehicle specialist and is involved in training Iraqi fighters on a wide range of procured or manufactured weapons. The Treasury Department said Mr. Azzawi’s fingerprints were found on an Iranian missile that was launched in the vicinity of U.S. forces in Iraq in 2021.

Awqad Muhsin Faraj al-Hamidawi is the third Kata’ib Hezbollah leader sanctioned by the United States on Monday. The Treasury Department believes Mr. Hamidawi has directed the Iraqi militia group’s business entities and other aspects of the group’s financial portfolio, including the Al-Massal Land Travel and Tourism Company that the U.S. government suspects is used to generate revenue and launder money for the group. The travel company was also designated for sanctions by the United States on Monday.

The United States has suspected Kata’ib Hezbollah fighters are responsible for conducting numerous attacks with rockets and explosive-laden one-way drones, that have targeted U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria in recent months. No U.S. troops have been killed in these rocket and drone attacks, but several U.S. troops have been injured in the attacks. Multiple U.S. service members were reportedly under evaluation for traumatic brain injuries following missile and rocket attacks on Iraq’s al-Assad airbase on Jan. 19.
“Iran and its proxies have sought to abuse regional economies and use seemingly legitimate businesses as cover for funding and facilitating their attacks,” Treasury Undersecretary Brian E. Nelson said of the new sanctions designations. “The United States will continue to disrupt Iran’s illicit activities aimed at undermining the stability of the region.”

US, UK, Australia Target Suspected Hamas Financial Networks

Separate from the sanctions targeting Fly Baghdad and the various Kata’ib Hezbollah leaders, the Treasury Department’s OFAC also announced sanctions targeting two financial networks with suspected ties to Hamas, which is also on the FTO list. This new effort to sanction the suspected Hamas financial networks was announced in coordination with the governments of the United Kingdom and Australia.

The multinational sanctions specifically target Gaza-based financial facilitators Zuhair Shamlakh (“Shamlakh Network”) and the Gaza-based Herzallah Exchange and General Trading Company LLC (“Herzallah Network”).

According to the United States, UK, and Australian governments, the “Shamlakh Network” encompasses Zuhair Shamlakh, Ahmed Shamlakh, Alaa Shamlakh, Imad Shamlakh, Zuhair’s company’s Al-Markaziya Li-Siarafa (Al-Markaziya), and Arab China Trading Company.

The “Shamlakh Network” has laundered money from Iran to Hamas’s military wing, known as the al-Qassem Brigades, and to another group on the FTO list called Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). Members of the “Shamlakh Network” allegedly routed funds from Iran, through Chinese bank accounts in yuan payments, to Hamas-controlled bank accounts.

The “Herzallah Network” has also allegedly facilitated money transfers to Hamas and PIJ. This financial network includes the Herzallah Exchange and General Trading Company, as well as Muhammad Fallah Kamil Hirzallah (Muhammad Fallah), Na’im Kamil Raghib Hirzallah, and Salah Kamil Raghib Hirzallah (Salah). The network also includes Samir Herzallah and his Brothers For Money Exchange and Remittances company, as well as Thair Abd Al Raziq Shukri Hirzallah.

The effort to disrupt Hamas and PIJ’s financial backers comes after both organizations breached the Israel–Gaza barrier in a coordinated attack on Oct. 7, 2023. According to the latest Israeli estimates, around 1,139 people were killed in the attack. Palestinian gunmen took more than 200 others back to the Gaza Strip as hostages. The Oct. 7 attacks have set off an ongoing battle in the Gaza Strip, with Israeli forces seeking to hunt down and eliminate Hamas targets and find hostages.

“These sanctions send a clear message to Hamas – the U.K. and our partners are committed to ensuring there is no hiding place for those financing terrorist activities,” UK Foreign Minister David Cameron said on Monday. “To reach a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas can no longer be in power and able to threaten Israel. By disrupting the financial networks which sustain Hamas’ operation, including from Iran, these sanctions support that crucial aim.

Source link


I'm TruthUSA, the author behind TruthUSA News Hub located at With our One Story at a Time," my aim is to provide you with unbiased and comprehensive news coverage. I dive deep into the latest happenings in the US and global events, and bring you objective stories sourced from reputable sources. My goal is to keep you informed and enlightened, ensuring you have access to the truth. Stay tuned to TruthUSA News Hub to discover the reality behind the headlines and gain a well-rounded perspective on the world.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.