EU places Hamas on its terrorist list

Friday, September 12, 2003

LONDON 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.

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