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Press Statement
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 22, 2004


Foreign Terrorist Organizations: Designation of Ansar al-Islam (Al), Redesignation of Three Others

As part of ongoing U.S. efforts against terrorism, the Secretary of State has designated the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO) under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Under U.S. law, this designation makes it illegal for persons in the United States or subject to U.S. jurisdiction to provide material support to Ansar al-Islam; it requires U.S. financial institutions to block assets of Ansar al-Islam; and it enables us to deny visas to members of Ansar al-Islam. The Secretary took this action in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury.

Ansar al-Islam, which operates in Iraq, has close links to and support from al-Qaida. Al-Qaida and Usama bin Laden participated in the formation and funding of the group, which has provided safehaven to al-Qaida in northeastern Iraq. Ansar al-Islam trained in al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan. The group has been one of the leading groups engaged in anti-Coalition terrorist attacks in Iraq.

The Secretary of the Treasury designated Ansar al-Islam on February 20, 2003, under Executive Order 13224. It has also been included on the UN 1267 Sanctions Committee's consolidated list of entities and individuals associated with al-Qaida, the Taliban, or Usama bin Laden whose assets U.N. Member States are obligated to freeze under UN Security Council resolutions 1267, 1333, 1390, and other relevant resolutions.

In addition, effective today the Secretary of State redesignated three groups as FTOs: al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Asbat al-Ansar, and the Salafist Group for Call and Combat. The initial designations of these groups in 2002 were due to expire on March 26, 2004.

With these actions, our list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations now numbers 37. We hope this list will continue to draw the attention of foreign governments across the world and will encourage those governments to take action, as we have, to isolate these terrorist organizations, to choke off their sources of financial support, and to prevent their members' movement across international borders.

2004/300

Released on March 22, 2004

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