The United States sanctioned a Lebanese bank on Thursday for facilitating the financial activities of the terrorist group Hezbollah.
The Treasury Department accused the Jammal Trust Bank, and its subsidiaries, of “brazenly enabling” the financial activities of the organization that operates in Lebanon and has links with Iran.
Through an official statement, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted the financial institution for providing “support and services to Hizballah’s [Hezbollah’s] Executive Council and the Martyrs Foundation, which funnels money to the families of suicide bombers.”
In October 1997, the State Department designated Hezbollah as a foreign terrorist group, arguing that the organization is supported by Iran and threatens peace and stability in the Middle East.
The sanctions imply that the Jammal Trust Bank will not be allowed to operate with any U.S. citizen or institution, which is likely to significantly reduce its financial and commercial activities, VOA said in a report.
“Today’s designation reflects our determination to counter Hizballah’s terrorist and illicit activities in Lebanon,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a news release.
The Jammal Trust Bank, which has been in operation for 50 years and has branches throughout Lebanon, denied the accusations.
However, Pompeo argued that, in fact, “Jammal Trust’s misconduct undermines the integrity of the Lebanese financial system.”
Blow to Hamas
Sanctions were also extended to four individuals in Oman who would be acting as intermediaries to transfer money from the Quds Force—a secret elite group of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard—to the Hamas group in the Gaza Strip.
The sanctioned individuals “funneled tens of millions of dollars … to Hamas for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip,” Sigal Mandelker, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement quoted by VOA.