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US adds leader of Iraqi militia to terrorism blacklist

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Wednesday added the head of an Iran-backed Iraqi militia responsible for attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq to its terrorism blacklist. The State and Treasury departments announced they had labeled Ahmad al-Hamidawi, the secretary general of Kataib Hezbollah, a “specially designated global terrorist.”

As a result, any assets al-Hamidawi may have in U.S. jurisdictions are frozen and Americans are barred from doing business with him. Kataib Hezbollah was responsible for a late December rocket attack on a military base in Kirkuk that killed a U.S. contractor, prompting an American response.

That in turn led to protests at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. They were followed January 3 by a U.S. airstrike that killed Iran's most powerful military officer, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a leader of the Iran-backed militias in Iraq, of which Kataib Hezbollah is a member.

Kataib Hezbollah been designated a “foreign terrorist organization” by the State Department since 2009.

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