US freezes Al-Aqsa assets citing terror links
The US Treasury has added the Al-Aqsa Foundation to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) entities, saying the organization is funneling funds—including money donated for charitable purposes—to the Hamas.
In a May 29 news release, the US Treasury said the action taken by Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) immediately blocks all assets of the Al-Aqsa Foundation and prohibits US financial institutions from doing business with the organization.
"By designating the Al-Aqsa Foundation, we have deprived the Hamas terrorist organization of a vital source of funding and have shut off yet another pipeline of money financing terror," Treasury Secretary John Snow said in the news release.
Treasury officials said OFAC's action also highlights growing international cooperation in the campaign to cut off terrorists' sources of financial support. Earlier in the day, British authorities had taken similar action to freeze Al-Aqsa assets.
Juan Zarate, Treasury's chief for terrorist financing and financial crimes, described such cooperation as "extremely significant because it signals a change in attitudes and perceptions regarding the importance of cutting off funding to terrorist groups, however they are labeled."
Other countries that have taken action against Al-Aqsa include The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland, Treasury said.
The Al-Aqsa Foundation is the 18th “financier of terror disguised as a charitable organization” designated by the Treasury Department. To date, 264 individuals and entities have been listed as Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities and over $137 million in their assets frozen worldwide.
Al-Aqsa has offices in several countries, Treasury said. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)