US widens sanctions on IS; 3 French, 4 British on list
The United States took aim at the Islamic State jihadist group Tuesday with 35 terror and sanctions designations targeting new IS affiliates, including three French nationals and four Britons.
The broad list also includes groups and individuals from Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and other countries -- a move which US officials said demonstrated the global threat the group poses.
The announcement came as dozens of international leaders gathered for a summit focusing on the IS threat on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.
"The fight against ISIL is a global fight, and that makes not only US actions important, but UN actions and actions by countries around the world in order to really be able to disrupt the network for ISIL," said a senior official in the administration of President Barack Obama, using the US designation for the Islamic State group.
The new list "demonstrates the geographic diversity that we're dealing with," the official added, insisting on anonymity.
The designations add 15 individuals and groups to the State Department's official "designated global terrorist" list, and included two groups which have recently pledged loyalty to IS.
One was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant-Caucasus Province, which claimed responsibility for an attack early this month on a Russian military base in south Dagestan.
Another was the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant Khorasan group -- former Pakistan and Afghan Taliban commanders who have also allied themselves with IS.
The Treasury Department said its sanctions on 15 individuals aimed at cutting off the Islamic State's financial network to hamper their ability to finance associated groups and to purchase supplies.
"We have spent the last year trying to understand how ISIL finances itself," the official said.
The effort is "about trying to financially isolate ISIL within the territory it controls, making sure its financial resources do not turn into financial strength."
The "global terrorist" designations include French national Emilie Konig, whom the State Department said joined IS in 2012 and, from Syria, has directed other sympathizers in France to attack French government institutions.
Peter Cherif, they said, is a French member of Al-Qaeda's Yemen affiliate AQAP, and Maxime Hauchard joined IS in 2013 and appeared in one of the group's execution videos.
The four British citizens listed include Nasser Muthana, who joined IS in Syria in 2013; Sally Jones, who has worked to recruit other women to join IS and encouraged attacks in Britain; Aqsa Mahmood, said to be a member of an IS women's unit who works to recruit other women including minors to enlist with the group; and Omar Hussain, "considered to be one of ISIL's most prominent recruiters," according to the Treasury.
A number of those listed were also included Tuesday in updated United Nations sanctions on people supporting terror.
© 2015 AFP