On 14 January, the US State Department announced the designation of Abdallah al-Ashqar, a Palestinian national, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (“SDGT”) under Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorism. According to the State Department, al-Ashqar is a leader and foreign relations official of the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, which is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (“FTO”) and SDGT entity.
On 13 January, the State Department announced Maulana Fazlullah, aka Mullah Fazlullah, had been designated as a SDGT. According to the State Department, Fazlullah is the leader of Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (“TTP”), the group that claimed responsibility for the attack on a Pakistani school in December 2014 that resulted in the deaths of at least 148 individuals, mostly students. Prior to his leadership of TTP, the State Department believes Fazlullah was involved in numerous other terrorist activities, including the targeted killing of Pakistani Army Major General Sanaullah Niazi and the beheading of 17 Pakistani soldiers, as well as ordering the shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl, activist and youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.