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US sanctions Hamas spokesman, three of its cyber, drone operators in Gaza and Lebanon

"The United States will continue to target Hamas’s destabilizing attempts to launch terrorist attacks, as well as to disrupt Hamas terrorists wherever they operate, including across cyberspace," the State Department said.

Abu Ubaida (center), the spokesman of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the "military" wing of Hamas, speaks in the southern Gaza Strip on Nov. 11, 2019. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.
Abu Ubaida (center), the spokesman of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the "military" wing of Hamas, speaks in the southern Gaza Strip on Nov. 11, 2019. Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

Washington officially designated four Hamas-aligned cyber and drone terror warfare officials in Gaza and Lebanon on Friday.

“The United States will continue to target Hamas’s destabilizing attempts to launch terrorist attacks, as well as to disrupt Hamas terrorists wherever they operate, including across cyberspace,” stated Matthew Miller, the U.S. State Department spokesman.

The four designees are Hudhayfa Samir ‘Abdallah al-Kahlut (also known as Abu Ubaida), William Abu Shanab, Bara’a Hasan Farhat and Khalil Muhammad ‘Azzam.

Abu Ubaida, who has been the spokesman for Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the “military” wing of Hamas, since at least 2007 and runs its cyber influence department, “publicly threatened to execute civilian hostages held by Hamas following the terrorist group’s Oct. 7, 2023 attacks on Israel,” according to the U.S. Treasury Department.

“He was involved in procuring servers and domains in Iran to host the official al-Qassam Brigades website in cooperation with Iranian institutions,” the Treasury Department added.

Abu Shanab commands the Lebanon-based al-Shimali unit, “which is supported by Hamas’s construction bureau in Lebanon and has operations across Lebanon,” per the Treasury.

“The unit manages projects for the development and production of automatic 120mm mortars, mobile launchers for Grad rockets, development and production of flight simulators, UAVs for intelligence gathering and suicide UAVs,” it added.

Abu Shanab “is believed to be heavily involved in the manufacture of the UAVs used by Hamas to conduct operations,” the U.S. Treasury said.

Bara’a Hasan Farhat is Abu Shanab’s assistant and ‘Azzam is an intelligence official in Abu Shanab’s unit, per the Treasury Department.

“Today’s joint action reinforces our continued, collective focus on disrupting Hamas’s ability to conduct further attacks, including through cyber warfare and the production of UAVs,” stated Brian Nelson, U.S. under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence at the Treasury. (A UAV, or unmanned aerial vehicle, is a drone.)

“Treasury, in coordination with our allies and partners, will continue to target Hamas’s facilitation networks wherever they operate, including in the cyber domain,” Nelson added.

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