US, Turkey sanction four people who allegedly provided funds to Islamic State

Announcement signals counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries amid tensions over Erdogan’s threat to launch an offensive against the Syrian Kurds

The Treasury Building is viewed in Washington, May 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
The Treasury Building is viewed in Washington, May 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The US said Thursday it has worked with Turkey to impose sanctions on four people and two firms that it says provided financial support to the Islamic State group.

The announcement signaled counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries at a time of tensions over efforts to fight Islamic State.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has threatened an offensive into Syria against Kurdish militants he has blamed for a deadly November 13 bombing in Istanbul, which has alarmed US officials. Kurdish groups have been allied with the US in the fight against Islamic State group and have warned that a Turkish escalation would threaten anti-IS efforts.

In its announcement Thursday, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said it was imposing sanctions on an Iraqi national living in Turkey, Abd Al Hamid Salim Ibrahim Ismail Brukan al-Khatuni, his sons and the Turkish money service firm where they all worked. They are accused of facilitating financial transfers to and from Iraq and Syria for the benefit of the Islamic State.

Another individual, Lu’ay Jasim Hammadi al-Juburi, an Islamic State financial administration official also living in Turkey, was accused of using the firm Sham Express, a company founded in 2020 by Brukan al-Khatuni, to transfer funds to the Islamic State.

Thursday’s sanctions freeze and block any potential transactions with US entities and prevent Americans from doing business with them.

The State Department noted that Turkey is concurrently freezing the assets of those targeted by the US sanctions.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during a press conference on the sidelines of the G20 Leaders’ Summit at Nusa Dua in Bali, Indonesia on November 16, 2022. (Firdia Lisnawati/AP)

Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence said Thursday’s actions reaffirm “Treasury’s commitment to degrade ISIS’s ability to operate globally.”

The actions come after two November rounds of sanctions were imposed on people and firms in Africa who it says have provided financial or material support to Islamic State.

The Islamic State group is also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.

In November, Defense Department officials warned that they were “deeply concerned” about escalating IS activities in Iraq, Syria and Turkey. “This escalation threatens the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS’s years-long progress to degrade and defeat ISIS,” said Pentagon Press Secretary Brig Gen Patrick Ryder.

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