The United States announced on Wednesday that it had included the head of Hamas political bureau, Ismail Haniyeh, on its terrorism list, along with three organizations.
“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 (SDGTs) under Section 1(b) of Executive Order (E.O.) 13224,” read a media note by the State Department’s Office of the Spokesperson.
The new groups listed by the US as specially designated global terrorists include Harakat al-Sabireen, a militant movement active in Gaza that receives direct support from Iran and which has collided with Hamas several times, “Liwa al-Thawra” (Revolution Brigade), which emerged in Egypt in 2016, and the Egyptian “HASM” movement, which was established in 2015.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson emphasized that these designations “target key terrorist groups and leaders – including two sponsored and directed by Iran – who are threatening the stability of the Middle East, undermining the peace process, and attacking our allies Egypt and Israel. Today’s actions are an important step in denying them the resources they need to plan and carry out their terrorist activities,” the statement added.
As for Haniyeh, the US State Department said the Hamas leader “has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians.”\
“He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks,” the statement noted.
Hamas Movement slammed the US decision on Wednesday, describing it as “ridiculous”.
In a statement received by Asharq Al-Awsat, Member of Hamas’ Political Bureau, Hussam Badran, said: “After [US President Donald] Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, no position is any longer surprising or unlikely.”
“In our region, the term terrorism applies only on the occupation state with all its political, security and military components and financial arms that finance the killing of children, the demolition of houses and the seizure of Palestinian land,” he added.
Badran went on to say: “Hamas leaders, headed by the great Palestinian leader Haniyeh, are ready to sacrifice themselves and all that they have to defend our people and our cause, and we will not be intimidated by all decisions and actions. We will maintain the values of our people at all costs.”