Treasury targets leaders of al Qaeda group

The Struggles in Yemen
The Struggles in Yemen

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Story highlights

  • Yemen-based tribal leaders Hashim Muhsin Aydarus al-Hamid and Khalid Ali Mabkhut al-Aradah were sanctioned.
  • US special operations force have also stepped up ground operations inside Yemen in recent months.

Washington (CNN)The Treasury Department imposed sanctions Friday on two Yemen-based tribal leaders who it says "facilitated the transfer of weapons and money and the movement of individuals" in support of of the terrorist group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

"As a result of today's action, all property and interests in property of these persons subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them," the department said in a press release.
The tribal leaders, Hashim Muhsin Aydarus al-Hamid and Khalid Ali Mabkhut al-Aradah, were named as the sanctions' targets.
    "These sanctions seek to disrupt the financial support networks of al-Qa'ida terrorist leaders based in Yemen who facilitate financial support and provide weapons to AQAP in support of violent insurgent operations," said John E. Smith, director of the US Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.
    "The United States continues to aggressively target extremists and tribal leaders in Yemen and the surrounding region who are a direct threat to the security of the United States, Yemen, and the international community," he said.
    Ahead of President Donald Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia, the State Department also designated Hashem Safieddine, a senior leader in Hezbollah, and Muhammad al-Isawi, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria's operations in Egypt as global terrorists Friday.
    US special operations forces have stepped up ground operations inside Yemen in recent months amid growing concern that AQAP continues to plan attacks on Western targets, including commercial aviation.
    The covert ground missions aim to collect intelligence on the al Qaeda affiliate, including its top operatives and locations where its members could be hiding.
    The US has not acknowledged any specific ground operations since a Navy SEAL raid earlier this year resulted in the deaths of Chief Petty Officer William "Ryan" Owens and reportedly several civilians.