The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on a senior member of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah on Friday.
The State Department announced a $7 million bounty for information leading the location or capture of Salman Raouf Salman, a 25-year fugitive Hezbollah leader, as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
Salmon is the alleged mastermind of the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.
The sanction, issued by the U.S. Treasury Department, freezes any assets of Salman for acting on behalf of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization, which directs terror attacks around the Western Hemisphere.
Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury Department’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said Salman “provided all necessary support to perpetrate the terrorist attack against the AMIA building, coordinating the activities of the Hezbollah attack squad in Buenos Aires, and maintaining communication with Hezbollah leaders in Lebanon and the operations logistics command center in the Tri-Border Area [of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay].”
The new sanctions highlight Hezbollah’s “ongoing operational presence in the Western Hemisphere and that [it] continues to pose a threat to the region by actively plotting attacks against civilian targets,” the department added.
Additionally, on Thursday the Senate introduced a resolution to commemorate the 1994 bombing.
Argentina’s government also designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization and froze its assets on Thursday, the anniversary of the attack.
The sanctions come as tension between the United States and Iran continuously escalate following the Trump administration pulling out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.
In June, Iran shot down a U.S. Drone prompting Trump to launch a retaliatory strike. The White House said U.S. military on Thursday shot down an Iranian drone and blamed Iran for a series of recent attacks on oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.
According to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, was in international waters in the Strait at roughly 10 a.m. local time when a drone approached and “closed within a threatening range.”
“The ship took defensive action against the (drone) to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew,” he said.
Iranian officials, however, insist the U.S accidentally shot down its own drone and is accusing the Trump administration of provoking military confrontation.
Iran has a 40-year history of provoking the United States, Mandelker warns.
“This administration will continue to target Hezbollah terrorists who plot horrific murderous operations and indiscriminately kill innocent civilians on behalf of this violent group and its Iranian patrons,” he said.
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