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Washington Names ISIS Branches in Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Libya as Global Terrorists | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Reuters

Washington- The U.S. State Department announced on Thursday the designation of ISIS branches in Libya, Saudi Arabia and Yemen as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.

Such a move imposes sanctions and penalties on foreign persons that have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.

The statement said the “designations include a prohibition against knowingly providing, or attempting or conspiring to provide, material support or resources to, or engaging in transactions with, these organizations, and the freezing of all property and interests in property of these organizations that is in the United States, or come within the United States or the control of U.S. persons.”

It said ISIS branches in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Libya emerged in November 2014 when militants announced their allegiance to ISIS commander Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The State Department said that ISIS’s presence is limited to specific geographic locations in each country. Yet all three branches have carried out numerous deadly attacks since their formation.

Among ISIS-Yemen’s attacks, the group claimed responsibility for a pair of March 2015 suicide bombings targeting two separate mosques in Sana’a, Yemen, that killed more than 120 and wounded over 300.

Separately, ISIS-Saudi Arabia has carried out numerous attacks targeting Shi’ite mosques in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, leaving over 50 people dead.

Finally, ISIS-Libya’s attacks have included the kidnapping and execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, as well as numerous assaults against both government and civilian targets that have killed scores of people.

The designations came a few days after foreign ministers of 20 states decided in a meeting they held in Vienna to supply Libya’s internationally recognized government with weapons to counter ISIS and other militant groups gaining footholds in the chaos-wracked country’s lawless regions.

After Thursday’s action, the U.S. Department of State has now sanctioned eight ISIS branches, having previously designated ISIS-Khorasan, ISIS-Sinai, Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria, Boko Haram, and ISIS-North Caucasus.

Terrorism designations are one of the ways the United States can expose and isolate organizations and individuals engaged in terrorism, impose serious sanctions on them, and enable coordinated action across the U.S. government and with its international partners to disrupt the activities of terrorists.

This includes denying them access to the U.S. financial system and enabling U.S. law enforcement actions.