FROM: U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT
Action Targets Hizballah’s Leadership Responsible for Operations Outside of Lebanon
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated four members of Hizballah’s leadership responsible for operations throughout the Middle East, further exposing Hizballah’s pernicious activities that reach beyond the borders of Lebanon. These designations include senior members of Hizballah responsible for activities ranging from assisting fighters from Iraq to support the Assad regime in Syria, to making payments to various factions within Yemen, and to military leaders responsible for terrorist operations in Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Iraq.
Belying Hizballah’s claim to be a domestic Lebanese “resistance” organization, its expansive global network seeks to extend its malign influence, and the influence of Hizballah’s patron Iran, throughout the Middle East and beyond. The Treasury Department will continue to combat Hizballah’s terrorist activity inside and outside Lebanon with all available tools and will continue to work with partners around the world to make it clear that Hizballah’s militant and extremist activities should not be tolerated by any nation.
“Whether ferrying foreign fighters to the front lines of the Syrian civil war or inserting clandestine operatives in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere, Hizballah remains a significant global terrorist threat,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “So long as Hizballah spreads instability, conducts terrorist attacks and engages in criminal and illicit activities around the world, we will continue to sanction Hizballah’s operatives, leaders and businesses, wherever they may be found.”
The individuals sanctioned today were designated pursuant to Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and their supporters for acting for, or on behalf of Hizballah. U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with the individuals designated today, and any assets of those designees subject to U.S. jurisdiction are frozen.
In the years prior to Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, Khalil Harb served as the deputy commander for Hizballah’s central military unit’s southern Lebanon region from 1988 to 1992, and as the commander for this region from 1992 to 1994. From 1994 to 1997, Harb served as the commander of Hizballah’s central military operations. By 2000, Harb supervised Hizballah military operations inside Israel, Jordan, Cyprus, and Turkey.
In late November 2000, Harb was given responsibility for overseeing work of the Islamic Resistance, including assisting with the smuggling of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives from Syria into the West Bank via Jordan. By late 2003, Harb was head of the Syrian/Jordan/Israel/Egypt operations unit, which was subordinate to Hizballah’s Islamic Jihad council.
In March 2006, Harb served as Hizballah’s chief of military liaison with the Palestinian factions and Iran, dealing almost exclusively with Palestinians and Iranians inside and outside the territories. Prior to this posting, Harb had served as Hizballah’s chief of military special operations. During the summer of 2006, Harb was given command of a Hizballah special operations unit in southern Lebanon, which engaged the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in July 2006, at the Lebanese-Israeli border where IDF Special Forces entered Lebanon. In early 2007, Khalil Harb was chief of Hizballah’s Unit 1800, also known as Hizballah’s Nun Unit, the Hizballah entity responsible for supporting Palestinian militants and conducting Hizballah operations in the countries surrounding Israel, and he travelled to Iran for meetings regarding coordination between Hizballah, Iran, and the Palestinians.
In February 2010, Harb, serving as the leader of the Palestinian activities for Hizballah, planned unspecified attacks against Israeli officials in Israel, in retaliation for the assassination of former Hizballah External Security Organization (ESO) chief Imad Mughniyah. By mid-May 2010, Hizballah created a new position for Harb as “advisor to the Secretary General,” which provided Harb oversight of Hizballah Unit 1800, which he previously commanded.
As of 2012, Harb was responsible for Hizballah’s Yemen activities and was involved in the political side of Hizballah’s Yemen portfolio. Harb also served as commander of a Lebanon-based Hizballah special unit that focused on Israel. Since the summer of 2012, Harb has been involved in the movement of large amounts of currency to Yemen, through Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E., and in late 2012, Harb advised the leader of a Yemeni political party that the party’s monthly Hizballah funding of $50,000 was ready for pick up.
As the individual in charge of Hizballah's Iraq activities, Kawtharani has worked on behalf of Hizballah's leadership to promote the group's interests in Iraq, including Hizballah efforts to provide training, funding, political, and logistical support to Iraqi Shi'a insurgent groups. A member of Hizballah's Political Council, Kawtharani also helped secure the release from Iraqi custody of Hizballah operative Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior Hizballah commander designated by the Treasury Department in November 2012 who was responsible for numerous attacks against Coalition Force in Iraq, including planning a January 20, 2007 attack on the Karbala Joint Provincial Coordination Center that resulted in the deaths of five U.S. soldiers.
Over the last year, Kawtharani has assisted in getting fighters to Syria to support the Assad regime.
Muhammad Yusuf Ahmad Mansur
Muhammad Yusuf Ahmad Mansur (Mansur), a member of Hizballah since at least 1986, once served in a Hizballah military unit operating in south Lebanon. Around 2004, Mansur was transferred to Hizballah’s Unit 1800. Mansur was subsequently dispatched to Egypt to work with Unit 1800 under Muhammad Qabalan, and in 2008, the cell escalated its operations to target tourist destinations in Egypt. Mansur served as the Egypt-based cell leader. By early 2009, Egyptian authorities had disrupted the Hizballah cell and arrested and detained Mansur and dozens of other individuals for planning to carry out terrorist operations against Israeli and other tourists in Egypt. Hizballah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in November 2009 publicly acknowledged that Mansur was a Hizballah member involved in transporting arms and equipment to Palestinian militants. In April 2010, an Egyptian court sentenced Mansur to 15 years for his involvement in the cell, which was subordinate to Hizballah’s Unit 1800. However, in late January 2011, the imprisoned members of the Hizballah cell escaped and Mansur returned to Lebanon. In February 2011, Mansur appeared on Lebanese television with Hizballah officials at a Hizballah rally in Beirut.
Hizballah terrorist cell leader Muhammad Qabalan (Qabalan) once served as the head of a Hizballah infantry platoon. In 2008, Qabalan, as a leader in Hizballah’s Unit 1800, was serving as the Lebanon-based head of the Hizballah Egypt-based terrorist cell targeting tourist destinations in Egypt and was coordinating the cell’s activities from Lebanon. In April 2010, an Egyptian court sentenced Qabalan in absentia to life imprisonment for his involvement in the cell, which was subordinate to Hizballah’s Unit 1800. As of late 2011, Qabalan worked in a separate Hizballah covert unit operating in the Middle East.