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US Slaps Sanctions on Islamic State-Linked Groups

FILE - An image made available by propaganda Islamist media outlet Welayat Tarablos on Feb. 18, 2015, allegedly shows members of the Islamic State militant group parading in a street in Libya's coastal city of Sirte.

The Obama administration said Thursday that it was designating branches of the Islamic State in the Middle East as global terrorists.

The U.S. State Department imposed sanctions against groups linked to al-Qaida and Islamic groups in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Libya.

An official statement said the department was imposing “sanctions and penalties on foreign persons that have committed, or pose a serious risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy or economy of the United States.”

Also on Thursday, the Treasury Department established sanctions on individuals who supported or raised funds for groups linked to Islamic State.

The statement said terrorism designations are one way to deny the groups access to the U.S. financial system, which ultimately means banning Americans from doing business with them and freezing any property the individuals may have within U.S. jurisdiction.

“[Terrorism designations] enable coordinated action across the U.S. government and with our international partners to disrupt the activities of terrorists,” the statement said.

In 2015, the U.S. reportedly imposed similar sanctions on more than 30 leaders and groups around the world. Besides attacking Islamic State leaders and fighters, the U.S. is also going after the financial structure that supports them.