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3 Groups Added to U.S. Terror List

March 27, 2002

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Bush administration moved to block the financial assets of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Palestinian militia linked to the Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The action by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control came shortly after Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday designated the brigade and two other Middle East groups as terrorist organizations.

The other groups are Asbat al-Ansar, a Sunni Muslim group based in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, and the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, an Algerian group dedicated to the overthrow of the Algerian government.

It was not known whether the brigade has assets in the United States. The government has been working closely with other countries to get them to block assets of organizations and individuals targeted by the United States as conducting or financing terrorists acts. U.S. banks were ordered last year to freeze assets belonging to Asbat al-Ansar and the Salafist Group for Call and Combat.

Powell announced his designations through his spokesman, Richard Boucher.

Powell disclosed last week that he was taking steps to designate al-Aqsa as a terrorist organization. He made that announcement on the same day that the group claimed responsibility for a terrorist act in a Jerusalem shopping area in which a Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and two bystanders. At least 60 were wounded.

Wednesday’s designations bring to 33 the number of groups the State Department identifies as foreign terrorist organizations. Such designations mean that it is unlawful for Americans to provide funding to these groups. Their members also are ineligible for U.S. visas.

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