By Arun Kumar
Washington, Aug 25 (IANS): In a continuing campaign to target Al Qaeda's sources of funds, the United States has frozen the assets of Muhammad Abdallah Hasan Abu-al-Khayr, a son-in-law of Osama bin Laden.
The assets of al-Khayr, who is considered a possible replacement for the terror group's chief financial officer, would be frozen in US jurisdictions under new sanctions imposed by the Treasury Department Tuesday. Mustafa al-Yazid, the former No. 3 Al Qaeda leader and financier, was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan earlier this year.
The Treasury's designation also prohibits Americans from engaging in any transactions with him. The UN took a similar action, which extends the sanctions against him to all member nations.
The Treasury Department says al-Khayr has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for a specific terrorist attack against US interests. He appears on a 2009 list of 85 persons wanted by the government of Saudi Arabia, in part because of his role as an Al Qaeda financial facilitator.
Al-Khayr also acts for Al Qaeda in a leadership role on the media committee, and has on at least one occasion recruited a member for Al Qaeda, it said.
His relationship with Al Qaeda began with military training the terrorist group provided him in the mid-1990s. Al-Khayr has also provided services to bin Laden as a bodyguard.
"After the death in May of Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, who essentially served as Al Qaeda 's chief financial officer, we will continue to work with our allies to target those like al-Khayr who could step into al-Yazid's shoes," said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey.
"Today's designation of al-Khayr by the United States and the United Nations will help to ensure that that Al Qaeda remains in severe financial straits."