WASHINGTON - The United States on Thursday imposed financial penalties on two Lebanese charities that fundraise for Hamas, an effort by the Obama administration to disrupt the Islamist group's activities.

The US Treasury added the two Beruit-based charities, Al-Waqfiya and Al-Quds International Foundation, to its list of entities hit with asset freezes.

It is not known whether the two charities hold US assets. The Treasury Department did not provide details on any assets under US jurisdiction and declined to comment when asked.

The Treasury Department said Al-Waqfiya and Al-Quds "exist to support the families of Hamas fighters" as well as financing projects in the Palestinian territories "intended to spread Hamas' influence and control."

Four years ago, the US Treasury imposed economic sanctions on the Union of Good, of which Al-Waqfiya is a central component, the department said on Thursday.

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