US hits Lebanon charities with sanctions over Hamas ties
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US hits Lebanon charities with sanctions over Hamas ties

Assets frozen of two groups said spreading Islamists' influence in Palestinian territories

Palestinian Hamas supporters burn a US flag during a protest in Gaza City, Friday. (photo credit: AP)
Palestinian Hamas supporters burn a US flag during a protest in Gaza City, Friday. (photo credit: AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration is imposing sanctions on two Lebanon-based charities it said are controlled by Hamas.

The Treasury Department said any assets in the US held by al-Waqfiya and al-Quds are now frozen. Americans cannot donate to them.

The department says both groups exist to support families of Hamas fighters and prisoners and programs designed to spread Hamas’ influence in the Palestinian territories.

Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel. The US considers it a terrorist organization.

Also Thursday, the State Department declared Yemen-based Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist body, calling it an alias of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

The organization is distinct from the Libyan-based militant group of the same name, which has been identified as a potential suspect in the Sept. 11 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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