LONDON Ñ The European Union has formally placed Hamas on the list of
terrorist groups, in a significant policy shift.
Until now, the EU only described the Izzedin Kassam military wing as terrorist.
Diplomats said the EU's council of ambassadors reached the decision on
Thursday in Brussels. They said details of the decision will be published
over the weekend in the EU's official journal.
The decision will take effect on Friday and terms all wings of the Hamas as terrorists. All 15 EU states will be
committed to freezing Hamas assets, Middle East Newsline reported.
The EU decision, however, does not follow the model of the U.S. ban on
Hamas, diplomats said. They said the EU does not cite individual leaders of
Hamas or its fundraising arms in Europe.
The diplomats said this could lead to arguments between Brussels and
Washington over the freezing of Hamas assets in Europe. The United States
has named Hamas leaders and fundraising charities, including those that
operate in EU countries.
The EU changed its position in August when Hamas launched a series of
attacks that shattered an informal ceasefire with Israel. On Aug. 19, a
Hamas suicide bomber killed 22 people on a bus in Jerusalem.