U.S. Freezes Assets of Al-Qaeda-Linked Charities, Companies

The Bush administration moved on Wednesday to financially incapacitate a charity and three companies in Britain for their alleged role in funneling money to an Al Qaeda affiliate that has carried out terrorist acts in Libya and elsewhere.

The Treasury Department's action also applies to five people in Britain that the United States suspects of providing financial support to the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, or LIFG, the Al Qaeda affiliated terror organization.

The action means that U.S. banks must freeze any assets belonging to the groups and people designated Wednesday and Americans are barred from doing business with them.

The department alleges that Sanabel Relief Agency Limited, with addresses in London and other parts of the United Kingdom, bills itself as a charity to help the sick and poor but that its "first priority is providing support to LIFG's jihadist activities." The department alleges that the charity is used to transfer money and documents for terrorist activities.

Sara Properties Limited, Meadowbrook Investments Limited and Ozlam Properties Limited — each with addresses in the United Kingdom — also were covered by the United States' blocking order for allegedly helping to provide finds to LIFG.

The five people, all with addresses in the United Kingdom, are: Abd al-Rahman al-Faqih, described by Treasury as a senior leader of LIFG who also is involved in the provision of false passports to LIFG members; Ghuma Abd'rabbah, an associate of al-Faqih and a trustee for the Sanabel charity; Abdulbaqi Mohammed Khaled and Tahir Nasuf, each described as a member of LIFG; and Mohammed Benhammedi, a key financier for LIFG, Treasury said.

"The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group threatens global safety and stability through the use of violence and its ideological alliance with Al Qaeda and other brutal terrorist organizations," said Patrick O'Brien, Treasury's assistant secretary for terrorist financing and financial crime.