President Bush issued an executive order to the U.S. Department of the Treasury yesterday designating the Middle East satellite television operation Al Manar as a terrorist entity.

Al Manar is owned and controlled by the Iran-funded Hezbollah terrorist network. In addition to Al Manar, the U.S. gave the designation to al Nour Radio and their parent company, Lebanese Media Group.

The U.S. said Al Manar and al Nour are the media arms of Hezbollah and have facilitated the terrorist network’s activities.

“Any entity maintained by a terrorist group – whether masquerading as a charity, a business, or a media outlet – is as culpable as the terrorist group itself,”said Stuart Levey, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

According to the Treasury Department, Al Manar has employed a number of Hezbollah members, including one who engaged in pre-operational surveillance terrorist operations under cover of work for Al Manar.

The TV and radio operations also have supported fund-raising and recruitment efforts by Hezbollah, the U.S. said, through advertisements broadcast on the network and an accompanying website.

Al Manar also has provided support to other designated Palestinian terrorist organizations, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.

Tens of thousands of dollars were transferred to an Islamic Jihad-controlled charity. The budgets for the two media outlets were managed by Hezbollah Secretary General Hasan Nasrallah and the group’s Executive Council.

The U.S. noted prominent Hezbollah members have been major shareholders of the Lebanese Media Group.

Until the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., Hezbollah was responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization.

Among the attacks were the suicide truck bombings of the U.S. Embassy and U.S. Marine Corps barracks in Beirut in 1983 and the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut in September 1984.

Previous stories:

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.