Washington, Aug. 4: The United States State Department has designated Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA), a splinter group of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and Mohamed Abrini, a member of the Europe-based Islamic State as Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
The State department, in a statement, said the designation has been given under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons and groups determined to have committed, or pose a significant 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. The statement said, "As a result of these designations, all property subject to U.S. jurisdiction in which Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Abrini have any interest is blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Abrini." Jamaat-ul-Ahrar (JuA) is based in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border region.
"The group, founded by a former TTP leader in August 2014, has staged multiple attacks in the region targeting civilians, religious minorities, military personnel, and law enforcement, and was responsible for the killing of two Pakistani employees of the U.S.
Consulate in Peshawar in early March 2016," the statement added. It also carried out a suicide assault at the Gulshan-I-Iqbal amusement park in Lahore killing more than 70 people and leaving hundreds other injured.
On Abrini, the statement said that he is a member of the Europe-based Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) cell responsible for the November 2015 Paris attacks and March 2016 Brussels attacks.
He was arrested on April 8 by Belgian authorities and has been identified as being "the man in white" also known as "the man in the hat" seen with two identified suicide bombers at Brussel's Zaventem airport on March 22, just minutes before the attack that killed 16 people.
Abrini is also believed to have taken part in the pre-attack surveillance for the November, 2015 Paris attacks and to have assisted in planning attacks in the UK and Germany, the statement added.
The State Department said the imposition of sanctions by the United States against terrorists is a powerful tool and the action notifies the U.S.
public and the international community that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar and Mohamed Abrini are actively engaged in terrorism.