On July 18th, 2012, a terrorist approached a bus at a Bulgarian airport serving the Black Sea resort city of Burgas, and detonated a bomb. He killed five Israelis, one Bulgarian and himself. Over thirty others were injured. The five Israelis were tourists, planning to enjoy Bulgaria’s beautiful beaches. One of them was pregnant.
The organizers of the Burgas attack were identified as Meliad Farah, also known as Hussein Hussein, and Hassan el-Hajj Hassan. Both men are known to be operatives of Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based militant group that has been designated a terrorist organization by the United States and a number of other nations for its involvement in multiple acts of terror over the past three decades.
In late April, the United States Department of State designated 34 year old Meliad Farah and 27 year old Hassan el-Hajj Hassan as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.
Along with Farah and Hassan, the U.S. also designated 50 year old Hussein Atris, another Hezbollah operative. In 2012, Atris, a member of Hezbollah’s overseas terrorism unit, was arrested in Bangkok on suspicion of involvement in a terror attack plot. Upon searching his premises, Thai police discovered 4,380 kilograms of urea-based fertilizer and 290 liters of ammonium nitrate--raw material for manufacturing explosives. After serving over two years in prison for possession of these materials, Atris moved to Lebanon. Farah and Hassan are also believed to be living in Lebanon.
The designation of an individual as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist is one of the most effective ways to take away his ability to use the international banking system. This makes it very difficult for the terrorist to transfer money to accomplices and vendors or from donors, and to use those funds still within his possession.
It also ensures that no businesses or manufacturers will trade with him.
By tagging Meliad Farah, Hassan el-Hajj Hassan, and Hussein Atris as Specially Designated Global Terrorists, the United States is taking a decisive step toward ensuring that they find it ever more difficult to carry out their acts of violence.