US sanctions 2 Lebanese politicians allied with Hezbollah

BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. Treasury on Tuesday sanctioned two former Lebanese Cabinet ministers who are allied with militant Hezbollah in a rare move against politicians close to the Iran-backed group.

The sanctioned officials are former finance minister Ali Hassan Khalil and former public works and transportation minister Youssef Fenianos.

Khalil is a senior official with the Shiite Amal group that is headed by Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Fenianos is a member of the Christian Marada group that is allied with Hezbollah and the Syrian government.

The U.S. Treasury said Khalil and Fenianos “provided material support to Hezbollah and engaged in corruption.”

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U.S. officials have been warning that a new wave of sanctions will target allies of Hezbollah, which is considered a terrorist organization by Washington.

The U.S. has been targeting Hezbollah with sanctions for years but this is the first time it has imposed sanctions on officials of Amal and Marada that are closely allied with Hezbollah.

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