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Sunday, 17 January 2021

US designates Egypt-based Islamist terror group as foreign terrorist organization

The US has ramped up sanctions against Egypt-based terrorist group Hasm, designating the group as a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), the US State Department said on Thursday. The Ikhwan splinter group was responsible for terror attacks including a 2019 car bomb outside of the National Cancer Institute in downtown Cairo, which killed 20, as well as a 2017 attack on Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo. The statement added that two of Hasm’s leaders are currently based in Turkey, a popular exile destination for Ikhwanis.

What are the sanctions now in place? The FTO designation means Hasm and its leadership will be denied any resources and their US properties and interests will be blocked. All US citizens will be prohibited to engage in any transactions as it is now a federal crime to knowingly provide, or attempt or conspire to provide, material support or resources to Hasm.

The move got attention on the airwaves last night: Al Hayah Al Youm’s Lobna Assal gave it a segment (watch, runtime: 8:13) while Kelma Akhira’s Lamees El Hadidi gave it extended coverage (watch, runtime: 42:14).

ALSO IN DIPLOMACY- US aid to Egypt isn’t on Trump’s chopping block after all: The outgoing president last month slammed the US foreign aid budget and singled out the military assistance given to Egypt, complaining that Cairo would buy arms from Moscow with the money. But according to the letter sent to Congress last week Egypt’s aid seems to have been ring fenced from cuts to foreign spending. The White House was originally intending to cut both military and economic aid to Cairo but was persuaded against it following the intervention of some of the president’s advisors, Al Monitor reports.

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