US treasury imposes sanctions on Hezbollah terrorists

The US Treasury froze the assets of three Hezbollah leaders and a pro-Hezbollah businessman for their involvement in terrorism in Syria. Americans are prohibited from having financial dealings with them.

By: Lauren Calin, World Israel News

Smoke from a Hezbollah battle inside Syria. (Flash90)

The US Treasury Department imposed sanctions Tuesday on four Hezbollah leaders who are heavily involved in the fighting in Syria. The listing of the terrorists is part of a larger campaign by the Treasury to undercut the violence committed by the Assad regime and its allies.

Hezbollah terrorists Mustafa Badr Al Din, Fu’ad Shukr and Ibrahim Aqil and pro-Hezbollah businessman Abd Al Nur Shalan were designated for acting on behalf of Hezbollah. This means that any assets they have in the United States are frozen and that US persons are prohibited from engaging in financial transactions with them.

Badr Al Din is in charge of Hezbollah operations inside Syria, having replaced Imad Mughniyeh, his cousin and brother-in-law, in the role. He is also believed to have been behind the 1983 bombing of the US and French embassies in Kuwait, the US Marine Corps barracks bombing in Beirut the same year, and the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafiq Hariri.

“As these designations make clear, the United States will continue to aggressively target Hezbollah for its terrorist activities worldwide as well as its ongoing support to Assad’s ruthless military campaign in Syria,” said Adam J. Szubin, Acting Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. “We will pursue all of Hezbollah’s revenue sources, whether charitable fundraising, criminal proceeds, or state sponsorship.”

Hezbollah, first declared a terrorist organization by the US in 1995, was designated for its support of the Assad regime in Syria in August 2012.

The following is a description provided by the Treasury Department of the four terrorists:

Mustafa Badr Al Din

Badr Al Din is assessed to be responsible for Hezbollah’s military operations in Syria since 2011, including the movement of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon to Syria, in support of the Syrian regime. Since September 2011, strategic coordination was handled between Assad and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on a weekly basis, with Badr Al Din accompanying Nasrallah during the meetings in Damascus. Since 2012, Badr Al Din coordinated Hezbollah military activities in Syria. Badr Al Din led Hezbollah ground offensives in the Syrian town of al-Qusayr in February 2013, and in May 2013 the Free Syrian Army (FSA) confirmed that Badr Al Din was leading Hezbollah’s operations in al-Qusayr.

Ibrahim Aqil

Aqil serves on Hezbollah’s highest military body, the Jihad Council, and has played a vital role in Hezbollah’s military campaign in Syria by aiding Hezbollah fighters and pro-Syrian regime troops against Syrian opposition forces in battles inside Syria. In addition, Aqil has been the subject of multiple Interpol Red Notices, which document his long history with Hezbollah, including his involvement in the hostage taking of two Germans in the late 1980s and a bombing campaign in Paris in 1986.

Fu’ad Shukr

Shukr serves on Hezbollah’s highest military body, the Jihad Council, and has played a vital role in Hezbollah’s military campaign in Syria by aiding Hezbollah fighters and pro-Syrian regime troops against Syrian opposition forces in decisive battles inside Syria.

Abd Al Nur Shalan

Shalan, a businessman with close ties to Hezbollah leadership, has been Hezbollah’s point person for the procurement and transshipment of weapons and materiel for the group and its Syrian partners for at least 15 years. Shalan has been critical in keeping Hezbollah supplied with weapons, including small arms, since the start of the Syrian conflict. Shalan ensures items purchased for Hezbollah personnel in Syria make it through customs. In 2014, Shalan used his business cover to hide weapons-related materiel in Syria for Hezbollah.

In 2012, Shalan was involved in helping Hezbollah obtain weapons and equipment and in shipping the materiel to Syria. In 2010, Shalan was at the center of brokering a business deal involving Hezbollah, Syrian officials, and companies in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine regarding the purchase and sale of weapons. Further in 2010, he acquired a number of tons of anhydride, used in the production of explosives and narcotics, for use by Hezbollah. In November 2009, Shalan coordinated with Hezbollah and Syrian officials on the purchase and delivery of thousands of rifles to Syria.