US sanctions Lebanese bank which financed Hezbollah

PM Netanyahu welcomes sanctions, urges other countries to follow suit.

Elad Benari ,

Hezbollah supporters
Hezbollah supporters

The United States on Thursday announced sanctions in Lebanon and Oman aimed at shutting down financing to Hezbollah and Hamas, AFP reports.

Powerful US financial sanctions were imposed on the Jammal Trust Bank in Lebanon, which was accused of acting as a key financial institution for Hezbollah.

They also targeted individuals in Oman who allegedly act as middlemen to funnel cash from Iran's elite Quds Force to Hamas in Gaza.

The US Treasury Department "is targeting Jammal Trust Bank and its subsidiaries for brazenly enabling Hezbollah's financial activities," including sending payments to families of suicide bombers, Sigal Mandelker, under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement.

The Oman-based financiers "funneled tens of millions of dollars... to Hamas for terrorist attacks originating from the Gaza Strip," said the statement.

The sanctions mean that any link with US citizens or institutions is no longer allowed, which is likely to severely curtail activities.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump for his decision to impose sanctions on the Lebanese bank.

"I commend President Trump and the American administration for the important decision to impose sanctions on a Lebanese bank that serves as an Iranian financing arm for the Hezbollah terrorist organization. This is an important step designed to put pressure on Iran and its proxies, which are acting against the State of Israel. I also call on other countries to take action against the Iranian aggression in the Middle East," he said.

The United States has in the past imposed several rounds of sanctions on Hezbollah and officials affiliated with the terror group.

Last month, the US Treasury placed two Hezbollah members of Lebanon's parliament on its sanctions blacklist, marking the first time Washington has taken aim at the Iran-allied group's elected politicians.