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The US today designated two top Islamic State leaders, one of whom involved in the deadly 2015 Paris and 2016 Brussels attacks, as ‘global terrorists’ as they pose a significant risk to America. Ahmad Alkhald, a Syrian national, is an ISIS bomb-maker responsible for the deaths of numerous civilians in Europe. Abu Yahya al-Iraqi, also known as Iyad Hamed Mahl al-Jumaily, is a senior ISIS figure who reports to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
These designations seek to deny Alkhald and Al-Iraqi the resources they need to plan and carry out further terrorist attacks, the State Department said. Among other consequences, all of Alkhald’s and Al-Iraqi’s property and interests in property subject to US jurisdiction are blocked, and Americans are generally prohibited from engaging in any transactions with them.
The State Department said Alkhald is the explosives chief of the terrorist cell that carried out the November 2015 attacks in Paris and the March 2016 attacks in Brussels. Alkhald travelled to Europe where he helped plan the Paris attacks and manufacture the explosive belts used in that plot, which killed and injured hundreds of people, including a number of Americans.
Following his return to Syria shortly before the attacks in Paris, Alkhald continued to guide ISIS operatives in Europe on making the bombs used in the March 2016 Brussels attacks. Alkhald is wanted internationally and a European warrant for his arrest has been issued.
On the other hand, Al-Iraqi has reportedly played a key role in security for Al-Baghdadi and oversees ISIS security in Iraq and Syria, the State Department said. The US has so far designated over 30 ISIS leaders and operatives.
“These designations are part of a larger comprehensive plan to defeat ISIS that, in coordination with the 73-member Global Coalition, has made significant progress towards that goal.
“This whole-of-government effort is destroying ISIS in its safe havens, denying its ability to recruit foreign terrorist fighters, stifling its financial resources, negating the false propaganda it disseminates over the internet and social media and helping to stabilise liberated areas in Iraq and Syria so the displaced can return to their homes and begin to rebuild their lives,” said the State Department.
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