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U.S. blacklists Hezbollah construction firm

The United States blacklisted a Lebanese construction firm linked to Hezbollah. The Treasury Department this week designated Jihad al-Bina a terrorist organization, a move that bans Americans from doing business with it and freezes its U.S. assets. Jihad al-Bina, which means “Construction for the Sake of Holy Struggle,” has led efforts to rebuild Hezbollah population centers hit by Israel’s Lebanon offensive last year. Hezbollah responded to the Treasury’s move by accusing the Bush administration of trying to hinder Hezbollah’s rebuilding efforts, which could be a boon to parallel efforts by the moderate Lebanese government.