US Treasury Dept sanctions six Kata’ib Hezbollah members and associates
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - The US Treasury Department on Friday sanctioned five Iraqi citizens belonging to Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH), along with an Iranian national affiliated with the armed group, according to a statement issued by the US agency.
“Today’s action sends a message to Kata’ib Hizballah and all other Iran-backed groups that the United States will use all available measures to hold to account any opportunistic actors who seek to exploit the situation in Gaza for their own ends,” said Brian E. Nelson, a senior US Treasury official, as quoted in the statement.
“We remain fully committed to security and stability in the Middle East and are steadfast in our efforts to disrupt these destabilizing activities,” Nelson added.
The six sanctioned persons are Imad Naji al-Bahadli, Habib Hasan Mughamis Darraji, Ja’afar al-Husayni, Khalid Kadhim Jasim al-Skeni, Basim Mohammad Hasab al-Majidi, and Mojtaba Jahandust, who is an Iranian national that has “facilitate[d] travel and training of KH fighters in Iran.”
The sanctions imply that any entity or US citizen that performs a financial transaction with the six persons may be subjected to an “enforcement action.”
“Trained, funded, and supported by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF), KH is behind a spate of recent attacks against the United States and partners in Iraq and Syria following the horrific attacks by Hamas against Israel,” the statement read.
The sanctions also “block” any properties and interests in the US in which the sanctioned persons have a 50% or more stake in.
The six persons have been “designated” to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List (SDN List), which the agency says is not designed to “punish,” as the sanctioned persons may be removed in time with positive behavior.
The militant group, which was listed as a terror organization by the US in 2009, previously issued a statement on Telegram, warning that if the siege of Gaza continues, they will “work to close American interests in Iraq and disrupt them in the region.”
KH is believed to be part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI), an alliance of Shiite paramilitary groups in Iraq that have claimed responsibility for a spate of drone and missile strikes on US and Coalition bases in Iraq and Syria since the outbreak of the recent Israel-Hamas conflict. While the exact figure is disputed, it is believed there have been more than 55 such attacks on American installations in the region since the Gaza conflict began, according to a Pentagon briefing on Nov. 16.
Locally, the Kurdistan Region’s capital has been a focal point of the IRI's onslaught, as it has been bombarded by several drone and missile strikes since the Gaza conflict began, recently at Al-Harir Air Base.
The IRI publishes videos of its attacks on American installations on the encrypted mobile application Telegram, which show the drones and missiles to be of Iranian origin, suggesting that the proxy groups receive military aid from Iran.