US to freeze assets of Hizballah’s fundraising arm

Wednesday, August 30, 2006 |  by Staff Writer  

The U.S. government has decided to freeze all American assets belonging to the major fundraising arm of Hizballah, making it illegal for Americans to contribute funds to the organization.

The decision, made yesterday by the US Department of Treasury effectively outlaws the activities and contributions of the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, the major fundraising arm of Hizballah in North America.

In a presentation in Washington yesterday, the Treasury Department displayed receipts made out by the organization, showing writings on the back such as “contribution to the cost of a rocket” and “contribution to the cost of bullets.”

Hizballah is currently on the US terrorist list, a fact that makes any financial contribution to it illegal. In contrast, the European Union does not classify Hizballah as a terrorist group and does not include it on their list, saying Hizballah is also engaged in civilian activities such as welfare, health, and education.

Israel has repeatedly requested the EU to include Hizballah on their terror list, but so far they have refused.

Only yesterday Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema told an Italian newspaper that Hizballah and Hamas are not purely terrorist organizations, and that an effort must be made to include them in the legitimate political system. D’Alema said that both the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Ireland and the Basque resistance (ETA) in Spain were considered terrorist groups in the past, but have since laid down their arms and formed political parties.

According to the Washington Post, the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli web site that tracks militant groups, last week posted brochures from the group, also known as the Islamic Resistance Support Association. The materials were obtained during the conflict in Lebanon.

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