US imposes new sanctions on Iran-backed groups, including Hamas

An Iraqi airline named Fly Baghdad, and its CEO, were sanctioned for supporting the IRGC-QF and Iran-aligned militia groups.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemeiner

The United States on Monday announced new sanctions against a range of individuals and entities associated with Hamas, Iran, and other Iran-backed terrorist groups around the region.

The sanctioned entities include an Iraqi airline and Hamas fundraising and financial networks in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

“Hamas has sought to leverage a variety of financial transfer mechanisms, including the exploitation of cryptocurrency, to channel funds to support the group’s terrorist activities,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson, in a statement announcing the fifth round of sanctions imposed by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) since the Hamas pogrom in southern Israel on Oct. 7 last year.

“Treasury, in close coordination with our allies and partners, will continue to leverage our authorities to target Hamas, its financiers, and its international financial infrastructure,” Nelson added.

One of the sanctioned networks is known as the Shamlakh Network, run by the Gaza-based Shamlakh family.

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According to OFAC, “members of the Shamlakh family have become the main end point for funds transferred from [Iran’s] Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) in Gaza.” It explained that “Gaza-based financial facilitator Zuhair Shamlakh is a Gaza-based moneychanger who facilitates funds transfers in the tens of millions of dollars from Iran to Hamas. Zuhair has used his companies Al-Markaziya Li-Siarafa (Al-Markaziya) and Arab China Trading Company to channel funds for the Izz al-Din al Qassam Brigades (al-Qassam Brigades), the military wing of Hamas.”

The second network is known as the Herzallah Network, which has been engaged in the illicit transfer of Hamas funds from Gaza to the West Bank through the Gaza-based Herzallah Exchange and General Trading Company LLC. The network was being targeted “for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to Hamas,” OFAC noted.

Separately, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller announced sanctions against the Iraqi airline Fly Baghdad and its CEO for supporting the IRGC-QF and Iran-aligned militia groups in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

“The IRGC-QF and Iran-aligned militia groups pose a significant threat to the Middle East region,” Miller said. “Kata’ib Hezbollah has been responsible for a series of drone and missile attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria since Hamas’s horrific attack on Israel on October 7.”

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