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Copyright © 2019 The American Israel Public Affairs Committee

U.S. Targets Hezbollah, Others with New Transnational Organized Crime Task Force

On Oct. 15, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions designated the Iranian-backed, Lebanon-based terrorist organization Hezbollah as one of the top five Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) threats to the United States.

To effectively address these threats, the Department of Justice created a TOC Task Force to coordinate the department’s efforts to combat these groups’ criminal activity.

Led by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Task Force will be divided into five subcommittees, one targeting each transnational criminal organization. The prosecutors on the Task Force are charged with devising ways to disrupt and dismantle the illicit activities through prosecution and diplomacy, among other means.

This announcement follows previous actions taken by the Justice Department to target Hezbollah’s malign activities. In January, Attorney General Sessions established the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team (HFNT). The group—made up of prosecutors and investigators with expertise on international narcotics trafficking, terrorism, organized crime, and money laundering—targets individuals and networks supporting Hezbollah. The new TOC Task Force’s Hezbollah subcommittee will be staffed and led by HFNT members and will aid their ongoing efforts.

Hezbollah, whose stated long-term goals include the destruction of Israel and the United States, was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department in 1997. Hezbollah has killed more Americans than any terrorist group other than al-Qaida, and maintains a militia of approximately 45,000 fighters and an arsenal of up to 150,000 rockets and missiles.

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