July 11, 2019 / 1:27 PM / 4 months ago

Hezbollah: New sanctions widen U.S. assault on Lebanon

Members of Hezbollah parliamentary bloc are seen during a regular meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, Lebanon July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon’s Hezbollah said on Thursday that new U.S. sanctions against three of its officials, including two MPs, have widened Washington’s assault on Lebanon.

The move marks the first time the United States has targeted lawmakers of the heavily armed, Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, which is part of Lebanon’s coalition government.

“It has widened the assault on Lebanon and its people. It is rejected and denounced,” Hezbollah’s parliamentary bloc said in TV comments. “It will not change anything in our convictions.”

The sanctions widen a U.S. campaign that has designated 50 Hezbollah-linked individuals and entities since 2017. Washington classifies Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

The three new officials are MPs Amin Sherri and Muhammad Raad, as well as Wafiq Safa, whose role includes coordinating with Lebanon’s security agencies.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri said on Wednesday the sanctions moved in “a new direction” than existing measures but would not affect government work.

The U.S. sanctions weighed on Lebanese sovereign bonds on Wednesday.

Reporting by Ellen Francis and Tom Perry, Editing by Tom Perry, William Maclean

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