Saudi Arabia blacklists 12 Hezbollah members

Saudi Arabia widens its sanctions against Hezbollah, which fights Saudi-backed rebels in Syria.

Ben Ariel ,

Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah

Saudi Arabia has widened its sanctions against the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist group, adding 12 names to a blacklist of individuals and firms whose assets in the kingdom will be frozen, AFP reports.

The move was made on Thursday, according to the report. Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia has long been deeply suspicious of Hezbollah, a close ally of its regional rival Iran.

Riyadh and its Gulf Arab allies have stepped up sanctions against the group since 2013 in retaliation for its intervention in the Syrian conflict in support of President Bashar Al-Assad.

Hezbollah is heavily involved in the Syria fighting and has suffered a heavy number of casualties since joining the fight against rebels trying to oust Assad.

“The kingdom will continue to fight the terrorist activities of Hezbollah by all means,” the interior ministry said in a statement carried by the official SPA news agency.

The ministry accused the movement of “spreading instability and chaos, as well as carrying out terrorist attacks and criminal and illegal activities across the world.”

According to AFP, the new names on the blacklist include Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior Hezbollah commander who was placed on a U.S. sanctions blacklist in 2012 for his alleged involvement in a Shiite militia raid in Iraq that led to the deaths of five American soldiers in 2007.

In May, Saudi Arabia announced sanctions against two alleged leaders of Hezbollah, including one it accused of “interfering” in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been fighting Shiite rebels since March.

The group’s “military wing” was blacklisted by the European Union in July of 2013, though the group’s political arm was not.

In 2013, Bahrain became the first Arab country to blacklist Hezbollah. The country cited evidence that Hezbollah was attempting to incite terrorism from abroad. 

And Kuwait recently charged 24 people with plotting attacks against the Gulf state in collaboration with Iran and Hezbollah.