Treasury targets cleric accused of helping IS recruits

Crime scene investigators collect evidence from the pavement as police respond to an attack on campus at Ohio State University, Monday, Nov. 28, 2016, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Treasury Department took action Tuesday against a Jamaica-based Islamic cleric accused of helping Islamic State recruits travel to areas controlled by the militant group.

Treasury officials designated Abdullah Ibrahim Faisal as a global terrorist. The action blocks any property he has within U.S. jurisdiction and prevents Americans from engaging in any transactions with him.

“Faisal has recruited for and provided support to IS and his actions have influenced terrorists who engaged in bomb plots and other horrific attacks on innocent civilians,” said John Smith, director of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. “This designation will help deter Faisal’s global following and prevent U.S. persons from supporting him in any manner.”

The New York County District Attorney’s office for the State of New York unsealed an indictment in August charging Faisal with helping support IS group recruits. According to the indictment, Faisal is accused of recruiting individuals to travel to IS-controlled territory, providing them with contacts abroad and advice on how to evade detection by law enforcement. He is facing extradition proceedings in Jamaica.

Treasury officials said Faisal has directly or indirectly influenced numerous terrorists, including the Ohio State University attacker in 2016; a Garland, Texas, shooter at a Prophet Muhammad drawing contest in 2015; Faisal Shahzad, the attempted Times Square car bomber in 2010; Mohammed Chowdury, who planned and attempted to bomb the London Stock Exchange in 2010; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber who attempted to down an airliner over Detroit in 2009; two of the four bombers of the July 7, 2005, attacks in London; and Richard Reid, the 2001 shoe bomber.

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