US sanctions Lebanese bank for aiding Iranian terror proxy Hezbollah

“I commend President Trump and the American administration for the important decision,” commented Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

By AP and World Israel News Staff 

The Treasury Department on Thursday targeted a Lebanese bank which the Trump administration calls the “bank of choice” of Hezbollah, Iran’s terror proxy in Lebanon, as part of a maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.

The U.S., in partnership with Oman, also announced sanctions against four individuals which the Treasury accuses of moving tens of millions of dollars between Iran’s elite Quds Force and the military wing of the Islamic terror group Hamas in Gaza.

Treasury sanctioned Jammal Trust Bank, a financial institution based in Lebanon that facilitates banking activities for Hezbollah, and its three subsidiaries. The bank and Hezbollah have been doing business since at least the mid-2000s, Treasury said.

Iran has bcome entrenched throughout the region with its own military and through proxies, such as Lebanese-based Hezbollah and Hamas in Gaza. Tehran, Hezbollah, and Hamas are all avowed enemies of Israel.

“Jammal Trust provides support and services to Hezbollah’s executive council and the Martyrs Foundation, which funnels money to the families of suicide bombers,” said Sigal Mandelker, U.S. undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“The U.S. will continue to work with the Central Bank of Lebanon to deny Hezbollah access to the international financial system. This action is a warning to all who provide services to this terrorist group,” the undersecretary added.

Disrupting terrorist networks

In the second action, Treasury, in partnership with the Arab nation of Oman, sanctioned Mohammad Sarur, Kamal Abdelrahman Aref Awad, and Fawaz Mahmud Ali Nasser for supporting Hamas.

“These facilitators funneled tens of millions of dollars from Iran’s Quds Force through Hezbollah in Lebanon to Hamas for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip. Hamas’ continued violent campaign against innocent civilians and the state of Israel is to the great detriment of the people in Gaza,” Mandelker said. “Treasury will continue to disrupt terrorist networks by targeting those who generate funds to carry out the Iranian regime’s violent agenda.”

Thursday’s action blocks any property or interests in property that the targets have within U.S. jurisdiction. It also bans Americans from engaging in transactions with them and prohibits transactions involving them from moving through the United States.

“I commend President Trump and the American administration for the important decision to impose sanctions on a Lebanese bank that serves as an Iranian financing arm for the Hezbollah terrorist organization,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday.

“This is an important step designed to put pressure on Iran and its proxies, which are acting against the State of Israel. I also call on other countries to take action against the Iranian aggression in the Middle East,” the Israeli premier said in a statement.