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World

AFP
January 12, 2018

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US task force to probe Hezbollah ‘narcoterror’

WASHINGTON: The US Justice Department announced Thursday creation of a special task force to investigate what it called “narcoterrorism” by the powerful Lebanese movement Hezbollah.

The unit will comprise specialists on money-laundering, drug trafficking, terrorism and organized crime, targeting Iran ally Hezbollah’s sprawling network, whose reach extends across Africa and into Central and South America, the department said. “The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The team will initiate prosecutions that will restrict the flow of money to foreign terrorist organizations as well as disrupt violent international drug trafficking operations.” The move comes amid a stepped-up effort to battle Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and expanded military capabilities of Hezbollah, one of the dominant forces in Lebanese politics. But Sessions said the creation of the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team was also a response to criticisms that former president Barack Obama held back from cracking down on Hezbollah’s global networks, investigated under the previous Project Cassandra, to achieve the nuclear deal with Iran.

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