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Monday, 13 August 2007

State Department Blacklists Fatah al-Islam

Lebanese group labeled as terrorist; blamed for violence at refugee camp
Washington - The Bush administration has blacklisted as a "foreign terrorist organization" a Lebanese Islamist group blamed for major fighting at a refugee camp, the Associated Press has learned.

The State Department is expected to announce on Monday the designation against al-Qaida- inspired Fatah al-Islam, which is suspected of having links to Syria.

The designation imposes financial and travel restrictions on the group and its members, officials said Saturday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The officials said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed off on the decision to place the radical group on the international terror list on Friday. The sanctions took effect with her signature.

The U.S. designation of Fatah al-Islam will bring to 43 the number of groups on the blacklist, which already includes many of the world's most notorious terrorist organizations.

The designation freezes the assets of the group in U.S. jurisdictions, bars its members from U.S. soil and makes it illegal for U.S. citizens or those subject to U.S. laws to provide it with "material support or resources."

The action against the Lebanese group comes as the Bush administration is stepping up efforts to distance Lebanon from Syrian influence. It also comes as clashes between Lebanese troops and Fatah al-Islam militants at the Nahr el-Bared camp have killed at least 136 people since they erupted in May.

There was no immediate comment from Lebanese officials. Fatah al-Islam militants, who spoke to journalists by mobile phone from inside the Nahr el-Bared camp in the early days of the fighting, can no longer be reached.

The fighting is the worst internal violence in Lebanon since its 1975-90 civil war and has dragged on despite the Lebanese army besieging the camp to uproot the group.

The army has refused to halt its offensive until the militants completely surrender, but the gunmen have vowed to fight to the death.

The whereabouts of Fatah al- Islam's leader, Shaker Youssef Absi, are unknown.

BagelBlogger: Its interesting to compare the ruthlessness of the Lebanese Army in dealing with this dangerous terrorist group. The
Nahr el-Bared refugee camp has for all intensive purposes been flattened, countless civilians are dead, yet we hear nothing from the Arab world or the UN?

Makes you think? mmm

Cleveland.com: Lebanese group labeled as terrorist; blamed for violence at refugee camp