U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L) announced the blacklisted of two ISIS regional leaders during a press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday. Photo courtesy of U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken/Twitter
June 8 (UPI) -- U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday the blacklisting of two ISIS regional leaders as the fight against the terrorist organization takes in its General Directorate of Provinces.
Blinken announced the designations while in Riyadh for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS ministerial opening session Thursday. A statement from the State Department said the two leaders were being labeled Specially Designated Global Terrorists as the so-called ISIS Core has relied upon its regional offices for operational guidance and funding.
The leaders were identified as Abdallah Makki Muslih al-Rufay'i, the Iraq-based ISIS GDP Bilad al-Rafidayn Office emir; and Abu Bakr ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali al-Mainuki, a Sahel-based ISIS GDP al-Furqan Office senior leader.
Blinken told reporters during the Thursday press conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud that the fight against ISIS continues despite many military achievements their coalition of 86 governments and institutes has achieved since they ousted ISIS from its last stretch of territory under its control four years ago.
"Our progress is a testament to the strength of this coalition -- and the courage of our partners on the ground," he said. "But for all our progress, the fight is not yet done."
According to a 2020 National Intelligence report, ISIS has regrouped following its territorial defeat and was seeking to rebuild many key capabilities.
In July, a U.N. Security Council report stated that during the first half of last year, the threat posed by ISIS and its affiliates continued to rise.
It named the al-Furqan office, which serves ISIS in Nigeria and the neighboring countries, as among "the most vigorous and well-established" of ISIS' regional networks.
Blinken said Thursday they targeted the two leaders with terrorist designations, which freeze all U.S. assists in their names, as the United States remains focused "on cutting off ISIS' ability to raise and move funds across multiple jurisdictions, including the General Directorate of Provinces."