WASHINGTON—The U.S. has declared an Arab group responsible for targeting U.S. and Japanese ships as a foreign terrorist organization.

The State Department's action freezes any assets the Abdullah Azzam Brigades holds in the U.S and bans Americans from doing business with the group.

The group attacked a Japanese oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz in 2010. It also has claimed responsibility for narrowly missing a U.S. amphibious assault ship in the Red Sea and for bombings of Egypt's Sharm el-Sheik resort that killed 98 people in 2005.

The State Department on Thursday also set sanctions on senior al-Qaida member Abu Maryam al-Zahrani.

A Saudi citizen, al-Zahrani is believed to be in Pakistan. He has been described as a leader of the terrorist group's new generation.