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Hezbollah Charity Banned

The U.S. has designated the Islamic Resistance Support Organization, or I-R-S-O, as a supporter of the Hezbollah terrorist group. I-R-S-O assets in the U.S. have been frozen and it is now illegal for U.S. persons to contribute to the organization.

Stuart Levey is the U.S. Treasury Department's Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. In a written statement, Mr. Levey says, "While some terrorist-supported charities try to obscure their support for violence, I-R-S-O makes no attempt to hide its true colors." The organization solicits funds for Hezbollah through booklets and advertisements on the terrorist group's al-Manar television station in Lebanon. I-R-S-O informs prospective donors that funds will be used to purchase sophisticated weapons and carry out attacks. Its fundraising materials, says Mr. Levey, "present donors with the option of sending funds to equip Hezbollah fighters or to purchase rockets that Hezbollah uses to target civilian populations."

Hezbollah has been operating as a state within a state in southern Lebanon for some time. It was responsible for recent fighting that claimed the lives of some one-thousand-three-hundred Lebanese and more than one-hundred-fifty Israelis. Since the early 1980s, Hezbollah has carried out numerous terrorist attacks. They include the 1983 suicide truck bombings in Beirut, Lebanon, of the U.S. Embassy, and a U.S. Marine Corps barracks. The attacks killed more than three-hundred people. In the 1990s, Hezbollah also carried out bombings of the Israeli Embassy and the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, that killed over a hundred people.

This action to freeze the assets of the I-S-R-O puts to rest the fallacy that Hezbollah has separate military and social wings – their charities are expressly fundraising for violence.

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.