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US puts Egyptian extremist group on terrorism blacklist

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is imposing sanctions on an Egypt-based group that has claimed responsibility for attacks against Egyptian officials, Israeli interests and foreign tourists in Cairo and the Sinai peninsula.

The State Department said Wednesday it has designated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis a "foreign terrorist organization." That means any assets it may have in U.S. jurisdictions are frozen and Americans are barred from providing the group with any material resources. The department said the group is sympathetic to al-Qaida but is not a formal affiliate.

Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis was founded in 2011 and has attacked the Israeli city of Eilat and a Sinai pipeline. The group has also tried to assassinate Egyptian officials and claimed a February bombing of a Sinai tour bus that killed three South Korean tourists.

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