US sanctions Hamas spokesperson, leaders of drone unit

The Treasury Department announced Friday it issued sanctions against a Hamas spokesperson and leaders of the group’s drone unit.

The department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said it was taking action to target Hamas leaders based in Gaza and Lebanon who oversee the cyber and unmanned aerial vehicle operations.

The European Union is also imposing new sanctions targeting Hamas, the statement said.

“Today’s joint action reinforces our continued, collective focus on disrupting Hamas’s ability to conduct further attacks, including through cyber warfare and the production of UAVs,” said Brian Nelson, the undersecretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Treasury, in coordination with our allies and partners, will continue to target Hamas’s facilitation networks wherever they operate, including in the cyber domain.”

The U.S. is targeting Hudhayfa Samir ‘Abdallah al-Kahlut, known as Abu Ubaida, who has been the spokesperson for the military wing of Hamas in Gaza since 2007. Al-Kahlut leads the cyber influence department and has been involved in servers in Iran that host the “official al-Qassam Brigades website in cooperation with Iranian institutions,” the Treasury said.

The department is also targeting William Abu Shanab, the commander of the Lebanon-based al-Shumali unit, along with Bara’a Hasan Farhat, the assistant to Aby Shanab, and an intelligence official in the unit named Khalil Muhammad ‘Azzam.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC,” the department said.

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