U.S. freezes assets of alleged al Qaeda supporter
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. government has frozen the assets of a Saudi national named by both the U.S. Treasury Department and Saudi Arabia as an al Qaeda supporter with direct ties to Osama bin Laden.
Wa'el Hamza Julaidan "has directed organizations that have provided financial and logistical support to al Qaeda," the Treasury Department said in a statement released Friday, amid published reports that Saudi authorities had located him.
Julaidan "has directed organizations that have provided financial and logistical support to al Qaeda," the Treasury Department said in a statement released Friday, amid published reports that Saudi authorities had located him.
A report, published in the Los Angeles Times, quoted unnamed Treasury officials implying that Julaidan is either in Saudi custody or, at the very least , is being closely monitored.
The Treasury statement said that the evidence of Julaidan's alleged al Qaeda ties came from Abu Zubaida, a senior al Qaeda official now in U.S. custody, as well as from bin Laden himself in a 1999 interview with al-Jazeera, an Arabic-language television network based in Qatar.
In addition to fighting with bin Laden against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, Julaidan has also been associated with bin Laden lieutenants Ayman al-Zawahri, Abu Zubaida and Mohammed Atef, the statement said.
He also has associated with three organizations -- Makhtab al Khedmat, the Rabita Trust and al-Gam'a al-Islamiya -- previously designed as supporting terrorism by the United States and United Nations, the statement said.
The Treasury Department said the designation of Julaidan as a terrorism supporter was the second such action taken jointly with Saudi Arabia, which has forwarded his name to the U.N. Sanctions Committee for further possible action.
Julaidan is the 236th person or group targeted under an executive order signed by President Bush in the wake of the September 11 attacks that allows the government to strike at the financial operations of those it believes are terrorists.
The executive order allows the Treasury Department to freeze the assets of "individuals, entities or organizations" believed to support terrorists or terrorism.
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