Treasury freezes assets of 7 people

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics WriterThu Dec 6, 12:21 PM ET 

The Bush administration on Thursday took steps to clamp down financially on
seven people, most of them in Syria, suspected of having ties to the Iraqi
insurgency or the former regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Treasury Department's action means any assets found in the United States
belonging to the designated individuals must be frozen. Americans also are
forbidden from doing business with them.

"The United States is acting today against former regime elements and others
supporting the Iraqi insurgency out of Syria," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's
under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. "Syria must take
action to deny safe haven to those supporting violence from within its
borders," he added.

Fawzi Mutlaq al-Rawi was added to the United States' asset-blocking list
under an executive order that allows the government to go after people
suspected of helping to bankroll terrorist acts or providing other support
for them.

The department accused al-Rawi of facilitating the provision of $300,000 to
members of al-Qaida in Iraq in November 2005. He provided members of the
group with "improvised explosive devices, rifles and suicide bombers," the
department alleged. He also attended meetings where there were discussions
of, among other things, "conducting airborne improvised explosive device
attacks against the U.S. embassy and concentrating attacks against the
international zone," the department alleged.

The other six individuals named Thursday were designated under a different
executive order that targets senior officials of Iraq's former regime or
their immediate family members. They are: Hasan Hashim Khalaf al-Dulaymi;
Ahmed Watban Ibrahim Hasan al-Tikriti; Ahmad Muhammad Yunis al-Ahmad; Sa'ad
Muhammad Yunis al-Ahmad; Thabet al-Duri; and Hatem Hamdan al-Azawi.

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