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US slaps sanctions against Af-Pak based terrorist outfit

US slaps sanctions against Af-Pak based terrorist outfit

Aug 04, 2016 - 10:41

WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): The United States on Wednesday designated Af-Pak-based Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Europe-based Mohamed Abrini as global terrorists.

 As a result of these designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Abrini have any interest is blocked, and US persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Abrini, the State Department said. Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) is a splinter group of the Tehrik-e Talibaninfo-icon Pakistaninfo-icon (TTP) based in the Af-Pak border region.

The group, founded by a former TTP leader in August 2014, has staged multiple attacks in the region targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel, and law enforcement, and was responsible for the killing of two Pakistani employees of the U.S. Consulate in Peshawar in early March 2016.

In late March 2016, JuA carried out the suicide assault at the Gulshan-e-Iqbal amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan that killed more than 70 people—nearly half of them womeninfo-icon and children—and injured hundreds more. The Easter Sunday attack was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistan since December 2014.

 Mohamed Abrini is a member of the Europe-based Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) cell responsible for the November 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 Brussels attacks.

Since his arrest on April 8, 2016 by Belgian authorities, Abrini has been identified as being “the man in white”—also known as “the man in the hat”—seen with two identified suicide bombers at Brussel’s Zaventem airport on March 22, just minutes before the attack that killed 16 people.

Abrini is also believed to have taken part in the pre-attack surveillance for the November 2015 Paris attacks and to have assisted in planning attacks in the UK and Germany, the State Department said.

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