U.S. Blocks Account of Suspected Al Qaeda Leader

The Bush administration moved Tuesday to freeze the finances of a Kuwaiti man it says is an Al Qaeda (search) leader providing financial support to insurgents in Iraq (search).

The Treasury Department's action against Mohsen al-Fadhli (search) — whose first name also can be spelled Muhsin — means that any bank accounts or financial assets belonging to him that are found in the United States are blocked. The U.S. government also is asking the United Nations member countries to freeze al-Fadhli's assets.

The administration contends that al-Fadhli provided financial and material support to terror networks run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda's top operative in Iraq.

"In an effort to solidify the support of key financial backers sponsoring attacks, al-Fadhli requested that tapes be made showing evidence of successful attacks in Iraq," the department said.

It's the second U.S. designation in the last few weeks related to the alleged bankrolling of insurgents in Iraq. In late January, the department took action against Sulayman Khalid Darwish, a Syrian man believed to be providing support to al-Zarqawi's terror network.

Al-Zarqawi, who allied himself with Osama bin Laden last year, is considered the most dangerous foreign fighter in Iraq. He is believed to be responsible for dozens of car bombings, beheadings and other acts of terror in Iraq.

Tuesday's action "is another important step in breaking the financial ties the al-Zarqawi networks depends on to perpetrate acts of horror and violence against people of all faiths and nationalities," said Treasury Secretary John Snow.

The department believes al-Fadhli is an Al Qaeda leader in the Gulf countries. The government believes he fought alongside the Taliban and Al Qaeda forces in Afghanistan.

The government also believes he raised money in Kuwait that was used to finance an attack in 2002 on the French tanker — MV Limburg — which was full of crude oil. He also is suspected of having a connection to an attack against U.S. Marines on the Kuwaiti Faylaka Island in October 2002 in which one Marine was killed.