CATF Reports May 19, 2016, 4:03pm

Once only acknowledged as ISIS affiliates by the U.S. authorities, three more terrorist groups which had sworn allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi since 2014 were officially classified as “specially designated global terrorists.” Today the U.S. State Department, in consultation with the Department of Justice and the Treasury, added the Libyan, Saudi, and Yemeni branches of ISIS to its previous terrorist designation of ISIL-Khorasan, ISIL-Sinai, Jund al-Khilafah in Algeria, Boko Haram, and ISIL-North Caucasus. Shortly after, the U.S. Department of the Treasury also imposed sanctions on Salmi Salama Salim Sulayman ‘Ammar, affiliated with ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula and one of group’s “most critical facilitators” in North Africa.

The new designations come with the traditional implication that U.S. authorities will be able, from now on, to freeze the groups’ assets in the United States and to sanction any individual and organization supporting or engaging in transaction with the listed entities. Today’s designations also reflect the U.S.’ evolved assessment of the threat posed by ISIS – grown much greater and more lethal over the past two years.

From the U.S. State Department:

“ISIL-Yemen, ISIL-Saudi Arabia, and ISIL-Libya all emerged as official ISIL branches in November 2014 when U.S. Department of State-designated Specially Designated Global Terrorist and ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced that he had accepted the oaths of allegiance from fighters in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Libya, and was thereby creating ISIL “branches” in those countries.

While ISIL’s presence is limited to specific geographic locations in each country, all three ISIL branches have carried out numerous deadly attacks since their formation. Among ISIL-Yemen’s attacks, the group claimed responsibility for a pair of March 2015 suicide bombings targeting two separate mosques in Sana’a, Yemen, that killed more than 120 and wounded over 300. Separately, ISIL-Saudi Arabia has carried out numerous attacks targeting Shia mosques in both Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, leaving over 50 people dead. Finally, ISIL-Libya’s attacks have included the kidnapping and execution of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians, as well as numerous attacks targeting both government and civilian targets that have killed scores of people.”

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