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Lebanese media outlets' assets blocked

U.S. brands Hezbollah-linked TV, radio as terrorist entities

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Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah, right, meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. government on Thursday moved to block the assets of two Lebanon-based media outlets and their parent company, alleging that they have facilitated the activities of radical Islamic group Hezbollah.

The Treasury Department designated as terrorist entities satellite television operation al Manar, al Nour Radio and parent company Lebanese Media Group.

Al Manar and al Nour Radio are the "media arms" of the Hezbollah terrorist network, said a Treasury Department statement.

The statement said the designation prohibits transactions between U.S. citizens and the stations or their parent company, and freezes any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

"Any entity maintained by a terrorist group -- whether masquerading as a charity, a business or a media outlet -- is as culpable as the terrorist group itself," said Stuart Levey, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

According to the Treasury Department, al Manar and al Nour have supported fundraising and recruitment efforts by Hezbollah.

Al Manar raised funds for Hezbollah through advertisements broadcast on the network and an accompanying Web site that requested donations for the terrorist organization, the department said.

"As recently as late 2005, Hezbollah-affiliated charities aired commercials on al Manar, providing contact information and bank account numbers for donations," the statement said.

"Moreover, Hezbollah Secretary-General [Hassan] Nasrallah publicized an invitation for all Lebanese citizens to volunteer for Hezbollah military training on al Manar and al Nour."

The U.S. State Department added al Manar to its "Terrorism Exclusion List" in December 2004.

Hezbollah is a Lebanon-based group linked to the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 servicemen. It is already designated a terrorist organization by the United States.

The Iran-linked group also operates an extensive network of social services in Lebanon, and the State Department says it is a significant player in Lebanese politics.

CNN's Elise Labott and Henry Schuster contributed to this report.

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