WASHINGTON – The Bush administration moved Tuesday to sever six people from the nation's financial system who are believed to be linked to the Al Qaeda (search) terror network.
Among the six names added to the government's list of specially designated global terrorists was Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (search), a Jordanian whom the United States said provided financial support to the terrorists responsible for killing U.S. diplomat Laurence Foley (search) in Amman, Jordan, last year.
The Treasury Department's action means that any financial assets in the United States belonging to the six people must be frozen. They also are prohibited from conducting any financial transactions in this country, and Americans are barred from doing business with them. It was not known whether any have bank accounts or other assets in the United States.
Treasury also said that the United Nations included the six people on its blocking list, which is followed by member countries. Treasury said Germany submitted the six names to the United Nations.
The German government suspects al-Zarqawi of acting as operational leader of a German-based radical Palestinian network, al-Tawhid, a group with close ties to Al Qaeda.
The other five people designated by the United States on Tuesday are believed to be members of a cell of al-Tawhid network, Treasury said. Those five are Mohammed Abu Dhess; Shadi Abdellah; Ashraf al-Dagma; Ismail Shalabi; and Djamel Mustafa.
Treasury -- citing a speech Secretary of State Colin Powell made to the U.N. Security Council in February -- said al-Zarqawi found refuge in Iraq under the former regime of Saddam Hussein, and al-Zarqawi's network set up a camp in Northwest Iraq to train terrorists in the use of poisons and explosives.
Treasury's action Tuesday marks the administration's latest move to paralyze people suspected of bankrolling terrorists financially. That's been a major component of President Bush's war on terror, launched after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.
Since those terror attacks, $136.8 million in financial assets belonging to Al Qaeda and other terrorists has been frozen worldwide, Treasury said.