The United States has designated Iraq-based Harakat Ansar Allah al-Awfiya as a terrorist organization as the Biden administration cracks down Iran proxy militias amid Israel’s war in Gaza.

The U.S. State Department sanctioned the Iran-backed group as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization along with its 46-year-old secretary general, Muzhir Ma’lak al-Sa’idi.

“The United States remains committed to using all available tools to counter Iran’s support for terrorism and to degrade and disrupt the ability of Iran-backed groups to conduct terrorist attacks,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Harakat Ansar Allah al-Awfiya is part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which has claimed responsibility for several recent attacks from Iraq and Syria targeting U.S. military, including a January drone strike that killed three U.S. service members in Jordan.

The U.S. State Department said Harakat Ansar Allah al-Awfiya was involved in the strike.

“HAAA is being designated for having committed or attempted to commit, posing a significant risk of committing or having participated in training to commit acts of terrorism that threaten the security of United States nationals or the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States,” the State Department said in a second statement, adding that al-Sa’idi was being hit for leading the organization.

The designation, which denies those named from the U.S. financial system, comes amid Israel’s war against Hamas, another Iran proxy militia, in the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

The conflict has embolden the Iran-backed groups, several of which have attacked U.S. military personnel and assets since the war began on Oct. 7.

Though stating it is not seeking to escalate the conflict, the United States has responded to the threat, and in early February retaliated for its three soldiers killed with an massive airstrike, hitting dozens of targets Baghdad.

The United States has previously designated three other Islamic Resistance in Iraq members — Kata’ib Hezbollah in July 2009, Harakat al-Nujaba in March 2019 and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada in November.

On Monday, the United States also sanctioned networks aiding Yemen’s Houthi rebels, another Iran proxy militia, that has been attacking ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden amid the war.

The Houthi rebels were designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group in January.

Source » upi