Press Releases: State Department Terrorist Designations of Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi

Media Note
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
May 19, 2017


The Department of State has designated Hashem Safieddine and Muhammad al-Isawi as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons who have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States. As a consequence of these designations, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with Safieddine and al-Isawi, and all of Safieddine’s and al-Isawi’s property and interests in property subject to United States jurisdiction are blocked.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined the United States in designating Hashem Safieddine. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia designated Safieddine under its Law of Terrorism Crimes and Financing and Royal Decree A/44. As a result, any of his assets held in Saudi Arabia are frozen, and transfers through the Kingdom’s financial sector, are prohibited.

Hashem Safieddine is a senior leader in Hizballah, a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) and SDGT entity supported by Iran. Safieddine is a key member of Hizballah’s executive council, which oversees Hizballah’s political, organizational, social, and educational activities. Hizballah is responsible for such terrorist attacks as the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in 1984, and the 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847.

Muhammad al-Isawi, more commonly known as Abu Usama al-Masri, has been ISIS’ affiliate in the Sinai’s leader since the death of Abu Du’a al-Ansari in August 2016. Prior to being selected as leader of ISIS’ affiliate in the Sinai, he was the group’s media spokesman. He also spent time in an Egyptian prison before escaping during the 2011 Egyptian revolution. ISIS’ affiliate in the Sinai originally operated under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which was designated as an FTO in September 2014. The State Department amended the group’s FTO designation to include ISIS’ affiliate in the Sinai on September 30, 2015.

Today’s actions notify the U.S. public and the international community that Safieddine and al-Isawi pose a serious risk of committing acts of terrorism that threaten the national security and foreign policy of the United States. The action against Safieddine is the latest example of the strong partnership between the United States and Saudi Arabia in combatting the financing of terrorism. The Safieddine designation is also consistent with the U.S. government’s ongoing effort to expose and apply pressure against the actions of Hizballah, which is supported by the foremost State Sponsor of Terrorism, Iran. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system. Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments.

A list of State Department-designated FTOs and SDGTs is available here.

Identifiers:

Name: Hashem Safieddine
AKA: Hashem Safi al-Din
AKA: Hashem Safi a-Din
AKA: Hashim Safi al Din
AKA: Hashim Safi Al-Din
AKA: Hashim Safieddine
POB: Lebanon
DOB Circa 1964
Location: Lebanon
 
Name: Muhammad Ahmad ’Ali al-Isawi
AKA: Abu Osama al-Masri
AKA: Abu Usamah al-Masri
DOB: Circa 1973
POB: Sinai Province, Egypt
Location: Egypt

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