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US imposes sanctions in joint action with Saudi Arabia

Hashem Safieddine head of Hezbollah's executive council second left is seen in a southern suburb of Beirut Lebanon. The Trump administration imposed its first terrorism sanctions jointly with Saudi Arabia on Fri US imposes sanctions in joint action with Saudi Arabia
Eleena Tovar | 19 May, 2017, 23:34

Safieddine will be subject to US sanctions and denied access to the American and Saudi financial systems.

Safieddine is president of Hezbollah's executive council, which oversees the group's social and economic activities.

The announcement comes as President Donald Trump travels to Saudi Arabia during his first foreign trip Friday.

"The Saudi government today designated a leader of Hezbollah, whose name is Hashem Safieddine", Saudi state news agency SPA said. "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia designated Safieddine under its Law of Terrorism Crimes and Financing and Royal Decree A/44", the release stated.

"As a result, any of his assets held in Saudi Arabia are frozen, and transfers through the kingdom's financial sector are prohibited", the State Department said in a statement.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Hezbollah senior leader Hashem Safieddine and the Daesh terror group (banned in Russia) senior operative in Egypt Muhammad al-Isawi, the US Department of State said in a press release on Friday. Prior to being selected as leader of ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai, he was the group's media spokesman. ISIS' affiliate in the Sinai originally operated under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which was designated as an FTO in September 2014.

"The Department of State has designated Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists... which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of USA nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States", the release stated.

"The action against Safieddine is the latest example of the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia in combatting the financing of terrorism", the State Department said. The Saudis also accuse Iran and Hezbollah of fanning the war in Yemen by supporting the Houthi rebels.

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.

A list of State Department-designated FTOs and SDGTs is available here.