USA adds Hamas leader to terror blacklist, imposes sanctions

Ismail Haniyeh

The state department said Ismail Haniya had "close links with Hamas' military wing" and been a "proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians".

Hamas was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and in 2001 as an SDGT by the United States. On the designation of Hasm and Liwa al-Thawra, Mr Schanzer noted that "these two groups meet criteria for terrorism" following the attacks for which they claimed responsibility last summer.

The 55-year-old Haniya, who was named head of Hamas in May 2017, represents the more pragmatic wing of the movement, which said the U.S. move would not deter the group's "resistance".

"Today's actions are an important step in denying them the resources they need to plan and carry out their terrorist activities", he added.

The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday it had designated Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh as a terrorist.

"The Department of State has designated Ismail Haniyeh, Harakat al-Sabireen, Liwa al Thawra, and Harakat Sawa'd Misr (HASM) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists", read the statement.

In Gaza, Hamas said: "The American decision to include Haniya on the terrorist list is a failed attempt to pressure the resistance". Iran also provides backing for the group.




The Islamist organization has fought three armed campaigns against Israel since 2008.

"As for the Palestinian terrorist groups, it gives them potentially up to $100 million annually".

Haniya replaced Khaled Meshaal, who now lives in Doha in exile, atop the Hamas movement.

In a major break with decades of United States policy, Trump announced on December 6 that the USA formally recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and will begin the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Hamas officials denounced the USA decision, affirming that it "will not prevent our people and its leaders from continuing their legitimate struggle". Born in a refugee camp in Gaza, the leader has always been seen as pragmatic and flexible in his attitudes towards Israel, and support for a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli one.

Bloody protests erupted for days after the announcement in many Palestinian territories as well as some Middle Eastern countries. Washington says the new embassy will open in Jerusalem in 2019.

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