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U.S. Treasury places sanctions on Libyan Islamist commander Badi

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Treasury Department said on Monday it had imposed sanctions on Libyan Islamist commander Salah Badi, accusing him of undermining security by directing attacks on groups aligned with Libya’s U.N.-backed Government of National Accord.

The U.S. State Department said Badi had also been placed under financial sanctions by the U.N. Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee, and the listing requires all U.N. members to impose an asset freeze and travel ban

The Treasury said in a statement that Badi’s militia forces had used highly destructive Grad rockets in densely populated areas in the latest round of fighting in the capital Tripoli in September.

“Salah Badi’s prolonged militia attacks on Libya’s capital have devastated the city and disrupted the peace,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“Treasury is targeting rogue actors in Libya who have contributed to chaos and turmoil that undermines the internationally recognized Government of National Accord,” she said.

Libya’s health ministry said late in September that at least 115 people were killed and 383 wounded in month-long clashes between rival factions in Tripoli.

The Government of National Accord also blamed Badi, along with another militia leader, for a May 2017 attack in Tripoli.

The Treasury said Badi played a critical role in battles in 2014 that nearly destroyed Tripoli’s main international airport and forced many people from their homes.

Under the Treasury’s sanctions, U.S. persons are generally barred from transactions with Badi and any property he may own in the United States is blocked.

In September the Treasury targeted another Libyan militia leader, Ibrahim Jathran, with sanctions for directing attacks on oil facilities in the country.

Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Susan Heavey and Susan Thomas