Lebanese firm scoffs at US assets freeze

A Lebanese construction company that the US government said is owned and operated by Hizbullah scoffed Wednesday at Washington's decision to freeze its assets under US jurisdiction, saying its projects would not be affected by the American measure. Stuart Levey, the US Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said Tuesday that Hizbullah uses the company, named Jihad al-Bina, for its construction needs and to attract "popular support" though civilian construction services. Hizbullah's media chief, Hussein Rahhal, said he did not know if Jihad al-Bina was owned and operated by the militant group. But a senior Hizbullah official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to talk to the press, said the company was operated but not owned by Hizbullah.