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Man arrested for broadcasting Hezbollah TV

Authorities have arrested a New York man who locally broadcast Hezbollah television al-Manar, which the U.S. Treasury Department has deemed a terrorist entity.
/ Source: Reuters

U.S. authorities have arrested a New York man for locally broadcasting Hezbollah television al-Manar, which the U.S. Treasury Department has designated a terrorist entity.

Javed Iqbal, 42, was arrested Wednesday because his Brooklyn-based company HDTV Ltd. was providing New York-area customers with the Hezbollah-operated channel, federal prosecutors said in a statement Thursday.

The U.S. Treasury Department froze U.S. assets of al-Manar in March, saying it supported fund-raising and recruitment activities of Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim group backed by Syria and Iran that has been at war with Israel in southern Lebanon.

At that time al-Manar, which broadcasts Hezbollah news and propaganda, was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity, making it a crime to conduct business with al-Manar, prosecutors said.

On July 12 the Israeli military destroyed its five-story Lebanese headquarters in air strikes but al-Manar quickly returned to the air, the station’s head of public relations said.

A fragile U.N.-brokered truce between Israel and Hezbollah came into effect on Aug. 14 after a month of fighting that killed more than 1,300 people, mostly Lebanese civilians.

Number of viewers unknown
In New York, federal officials did not say did not say how long Iqbal’s company had been providing satellite broadcasts of al-Manar or how many customers he had. A woman who answered the phone at his home had not immediate comment.

Iqbal has been charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the statement said. Federal authorities searched HDTV’s Brooklyn office and Iqbal’s Staten Island home, where Iqbal was suspected of maintaining satellite dishes, the statement said.

The Israeli military, which during the recent conflict launched daily air strikes on the southern suburb where al-Manar was based, said Hezbollah recruits through the channel.

Al-Manar devotes wide coverage to the Israeli-Hezbollah war, broadcasting exclusive footage shot by Hezbollah guerrillas fighting Israeli forces.

The European Union decided to take the channel off European satellites last year.