The Bush administration moved Tuesday to isolate a Lebanese organization financially for allegedly funneling money to bankroll terrorism by Hezbollah.
The Treasury Department's action, which covers the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, or IRSO, means any assets belonging to the group found in the United States must be frozen. Americans also are prohibited from contributing to the organization.
Hezbollah uses the organization to solicit donations to support terror, the department alleged. Treasury said the group solicits money for the Lebanese Shiite militia and political party through advertisements aired on Hezbollah's al-Manar TV station, which was put on the government's asset-blocking list this year.
"Solicitation materials distributed by IRSO inform prospective donors that funds will be used to purchase sophisticated weapons and conduct operations," Treasury said. "Indeed, donors can choose from a series of projects to contribute to, including, supporting and equipping fighters and purchasing rockets and ammunition."
The United States calls Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, a terrorist group suspected to have been involved in attacks around the world. More recently, the United States has blamed Hezbollah for the recent war with Israel by killing three Israeli soldiers and kidnapping two. Hezbollah and Israel stopped bombing and rocketing each other under a plan worked out by the international community.
"While some terrorist-support charities try to obscure their support for violence, IRSO makes no attempt to hide its true colors," said Stuart Levey, the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "IRSO's fund-raising materials present donors with the option of sending funds to equip Hezbollah fighters or to purchase rockets that Hezbollah uses to target civilian populations," namely Israel.