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US sanctions on 3 in Kuwait - ‘FUND EXTREMISTS’

WASHINGTON, Aug 6, (Agencies): The United States imposed sanctions on three men, two of them Kuwaiti, on Wednesday, accusing them of providing money, fighters and weapons to extremists in Iraq and Syria. Under the order, issued by the US Treasury, any assets the men hold in the United States are frozen and American citizens and residents are “generally prohibited” from doing business with them. The order accused Shafi Sultan Mohammed al-Ajmi, 41, and Hajjaj Fahd Hajjaj Muhammad Shabib al-Ajmi, 26, of raising money for the Al-Nusra front, a jihadist group fighting in Syria.

Both men are said to be Kuwaiti, and the elder Al-Ajmi’s street address in Kuwait was given A third man, Abdulrahman Khalafa al- Anizi, whose nationality was not disclosed and who is thought to be around 40 years old, is accused of supporting the so-called Islamic State, formerly al- Qaeda in Iraq. All three have been named a “specially designated global terrorist” by the United States government, which accuses them of soliciting donations for militants from wealthy donors in the Gulf region. “We and our international partners, including the Kuwaiti government, need to act more urgently and effectively to disrupt these terrorist financing efforts,” said Treasury Under Secretary David Cohen.

The Treasury statement alleged that Al-Anizi had worked in the past with al- Qaeda facilitators based in Iran, and that the younger Al-Ajmi had tried to get fellow Kuwaitis into leadership positions in Al-Nusra. The latest US terrorism report on the country noted “increased reports of Kuwait-based private individuals funneling charitable donations and other funds to violent extremist groups outside the country.”

On Tuesday, Kuwait’s social affairs and labor minister, Hind Al-Sabeeh, announced tighter transparency rules to “correct the course” of charities gathering and distributing private donations. The Islamic Affairs Ministry announced on the same day it had suspended all types of cash fundraising inside the country’s mosques, including collections “for the Syrian people.” Unlike some other Gulf states, US ally Kuwait is against arming rebels fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al- Assad. But it has tolerated fundraising in private houses, mosques and on social media.

Earlier this year, Treasury’s Cohen accused Kuwait’s former justice minister of promoting terrorism funding and calling for jihad. The minister subsequently quit. In a speech in Washington in March, Cohen said Kuwait and Qatar in particular needed to do more to prevent humanitarian donations from getting channeled to militant groups.

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