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Trump designates leader of Pakistan-based terror group in stiffer sanctions list

U.S. President Donald Trump greets Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Trump signed an Executive Order today, (Sept. 10, 2019) listing a leader of a Pakistan-based terror organization, among a batch of individuals from various such groups.

While Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was already designated a terrorist organization, one of its leaders was identified today for special attention.

Noor Wali, also known as Mufti Noor Wali Mehsud, was named the leader of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in June 2018 following the death of former TTP leader Mullah Fazlullah.  “Under Noor Wali’s leadership, TTP has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly terrorist attacks across Pakistan,” noted the White House.

The President’s Executive Order is aimed at modernizing and strengthening sanctions authorities to combat terrorism.

The White House descriebed today’s order as “the most significant update of terrorist designation authorities since the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks,” contending that it “will enable the United States to more effectively sanction the leaders of terrorist organizations and those who train to commit acts of terrorism.”

The announcement also said the State Department is moving aggressively to implement these new authorities.

The State Department today, designated Hurras al-Din, an al-Qa’ida-affiliated group in Syria, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).

Noor Wali is among the 12 leaders of SDGT’s previously designated groups, including Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, Hizballah, HAMAS, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, ISIS, ISIS-Philippines, and ISIS-West Africa.

In addition to these actions, the Department of the Treasury has designated 15 terrorists affiliated with ISIS, ISIS-Philippines, ISIS-Khorasan, al-Qa’ida, HAMAS, and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force under the same authority.

“Today’s actions seek to deny these terrorists the resources to plan and carry out attacks.  All of their property and interests in property subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them,” the White House said.

Other leaders apart from Wali, listed in the White House press release include:

Marwan Issa: Marwan Issa is the deputy commander of the Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the operational arm of HAMAS.

Muhammad al-Hindi: Muhammad al-Hindi is the Deputy Secretary General of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Baha’ Abu al-‘Ata: Baha’ Abu al-‘Ata, a member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Higher Military Council, is a commander of the Gaza and North Battalion in the Al-Quds Brigade.

Ali Karaki: Ali Karaki, is a senior leader within Hizballah’s Jihad Council. He led Mu’awaniyeh 105 (Southern Command) and was responsible for military operations in southern Lebanon.  Southern Command was divided into five geographic fronts (Mihwar), each consisting of a group of villages in a geographically contiguous strip.

Muhammad Haydar: Muhammad Haydar is a senior leader within Hizballah’s Jihad Council.  Haydar was the Chief of Bureau 113, and ran Hizballah networks operating outside of Lebanon and appointed leaders of various units.  He was very close to deceased senior Hizballah official Imad Mughniyah.  In 2004, Haydar was elected to the Lebanese Parliament.

Fu’ad Shukr: Fu’ad Shukr, a senior Hizballah Jihad Council member, oversaw Hizballah’s specialized weapons units in Syria, including its missile and rocket unit.  He is a senior military advisor to Hizballah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah and played a central role in the planning and execution of the October 23, 1983 U.S. Marine Corps Barracks Bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, which killed 241 U.S. service personnel.

Ibrahim ‘Aqil: Ibrahim ‘Aqil, a senior Hizballah Jihad Council member, is Hizballah’s military operations commander.

Hajji Taysir: Hajji Taysir is an ISIS senior leader and reports to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.  As the ISIS Wali of Iraq and former amir of improvised explosive devices, Hajji Taysir likely ordered IED attacks in the region.  He was considered a booby-trap expert while working in ISIS’ booby-trap headquarters in 2016.

Abu Abdullah ibn Umar al-Barnawi: Abu Abdullah ibn Umar al-Barnawi, Amir of ISIS-West Africa, was previously active in Boko Haram.

Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan: Hatib Hajan Sawadjaan is the amir of ISIS-Philippines and is the mastermind behind the January 27, 2019 Jolo City cathedral bombing that killed 23 and wounded 109.

Hurras al-Din: Hurras al-Din is an al-Qa’ida-affiliated jihadist group that emerged in Syria in early 2018 after several factions broke away from Hayat Tahrir al-Sham.

Faruq al-Suri: Syrian national Faruq al-Suri, also known as Abu Humam al-Shami, is the leader of Hurras al-Din and a former al-Nusra Front military commander in Syria.

“Terrorist designations expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and deny them access to the U.S. financial system.  Moreover, designations can assist the law enforcement activities of U.S. agencies and other governments,” the White House said.

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