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U.S. sanctions individuals affiliated with Iran-backed militia groups in Iraq

The Treasury Department Friday sanctioned members of Iran-backed militias Kata’ib Hizballah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada. Treasury Secretary shown at U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. June 13, 2023. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
The Treasury Department Friday sanctioned members of Iran-backed militias Kata’ib Hizballah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada. Treasury Secretary shown at U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. June 13, 2023. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 17 (UPI) -- The U.S. Treasury Department Friday sanctioned individuals it said are tied to Iran-backed militia groups Kata'ib Hezbollah and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada in Iraq.

"Today's action sends a message to Kata'ib Hezbollah 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 Treasury's Brian E. Nelson in a statement.

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KH was already designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

Sanctioned were:

Habib Hasan Mughamis Darraji, described by the Treasury as the foreign affairs chief of Kata'ib Hezbollah in Iraq. Darraji allegedly coordinated KH fighter training in Iran and helped smuggle goods from Iran to KH members in Iraq.

Ja'afar al-Husayni, allegedly one of KH's main media spokesmen. He has also coordinated with KH fighters by planning attacks against U.S. military force in Iraq, according to the Treasury Department.

Khalid Kadhim Jasim al-Skeni, who was described as a senior KH military commander who has worked with Iran's IRGC to train KH fighters.

Basim Mohammad Hasab al-Majidi, the alleged KH commercial development chief according to Treasury.

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Mojtaba Jahandust, an IRGC-QF official who allegedly facilitates the travel and training of KH fighters in Iran.

Hashim Finyan Rahim al-Saraji, who Treasury said leads the Iran-backed militia Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

And Imad Naji al-Bahadli, a member of KH's governing council.

According to the Treasury Department, the KH militia group has been responsible for many attacks against U.S. and Iraqi government targets in Iraq on behalf of Iran.

"KH has continued to launch unprovoked drone and rocket attacks on Iraqi and U.S. military locations in Iraq and Syria," the Treasury Department's Friday sanctions statement said.

Treasury said that Al-Bahadli, Darraji, al-Husayni, al-Skeni, and al-Majidi are being sanctioned "for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, KH."

Jahandust is being designated "for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, KH."

The Treasury Department said that al-Bahadli "made plans to intimidate Iraqi politicians who did not support the removal of U.S. forces from Iraq and other KH political priorities. At the direction of senior KH officials, al-Bahadli sought to identify U.S. military installations and U.S. companies that could serve as targets for future KH attacks, which would be launched on the orders of the IRGC-QF."

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