By Robert Joyce | Jan 10 2014Abou Iyadh ,Al Qaeda ,ansar ,arrest ,embassy ,
The U.S. government has named Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia, the religious group banned in their home country, as a â€œforeign terrorist organization.â€
The designation has implications for U.S. security policy in Tunisia.
According to a State Department press release, it is now illegal under U.S. law to provide material support to or engage in transactions with the organization. All Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia property or funds under control of the United States are also frozen as a result.
â€œAnsar al-Sharia in Tunisia, which is ideologically aligned with Al Qaeda and tied to its affiliates, including AQIM, represents the greatest threat to U.S. interests in Tunisia,â€ the statement said.
Ansar al-Sharia branches in Benghazi and Darnah, regions in Libya, were also deemed terrorist organizations. The U.S. government alleges the groupsâ€™ involvement in the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which resulted in the deaths of four U.S. citizens including the ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.
In a separate release, the U.S. embassy in Tunisia cautioned Americans in Tunisia to take extra precautions in light of this designation and the anniversary of the departure of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali next Tuesday.