US sanctions Hezbollah commander, 5 other entities

– State Dept. says imposition of sanction a ‘poweful tool’ in combatting group

– The U.S. on Thursday designated a leading Lebanese Hezbollah commander as a terrorist who the State Department says has been operating in Syria and reportedly in Yemen, according to Anadolu Agency.

Haytham ‘Ali Tabataba’i, also known as Abu ‘Ali Al-Tabataba’I, commanded Hezbollah’s special forces, the department said. He was designated alongside four other Hezbollah operatives and a business entity.

“The imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists is a powerful tool,” the State Department said in a statement.

“Tabataba’i’s actions in Syria and Yemen are part of a larger Hizballah effort to provide training, materiel, and personnel in support of its destabilizing regional activities,” it added, using the State Department’s preferred spelling for Hezbollah.

In addition, the Treasury Department sanctioned Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Kallas, Hasan Jamal-al-Din, Yosef Ayad, Muhammad Ghaleb Hamdar, and Global Cleaners S.A.R.L.

Kallas and Jamal-al-Din were designated because of alleged financial support for Hezbollah, while Ayad and Hamdar were designated “for acting on behalf of Hizballah by assisting in the planning of and supporting acts of terrorism.”

Global Cleaners S.A.R.L. was designated for being owned by Husayn Tabaja, an individual previously designated by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. He is alleged to be a Hezbollah financier.

His company “has obtained lucrative contracts to provide sanitation services in Baghdad, Iraq”, the Treasury Department said.

The sanctions prevent U.S. persons from engaging in business with the individuals and business.

Saudi Arabia, Hezbollah’s regional foe, joined the U.S. in designating Kallas, Jamal-al-Din, and Global Cleaners.