U.S. designates a leader of Gaza group as terrorist

Ron Kampeas

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. State Department designated as a terrorist a leader of a Gaza Strip-based group that has targeted Israel.

Abdallah al-Ashqar is “reported” to be a leader of Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, a group that since August has been designated as terrorist, the State Department said Wednesday in a release.

“Al-Ashqar also serves as a foreign relations official for the group,” the release said. “In addition to his leadership activity, al-Ashqar has sought missiles and other materials with which to attack Israel.”

The group, reportedly linked to al-Qaida, has claimed responsibility for a number of attacks on Israel, including a rocket attack on Eilat.

Terrorist designation means a ban on all financial transactions with the named individual or group and a freeze on the designated entity’s U.S. assets.