Hamas leader Ismail Haniya added to United States 'terror list'

Tunnel workers taking time off to pray on the Gaza side of Rafah

Tunnel workers taking time off to pray on the Gaza side of Rafah

Hamas was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and in 2001 as an SDGT by the United States.

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008 and is held responsible by the USA for the killing of 17 Americans in attacks.

Israel's Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz tweeted in response: "I wish to congratulate the U.S. on the righteous decision to designate Ismail Haniyeh as a global terrorist".

Islamic Hamas movement slammed on Wednesday the USA decision to list Hamas politburo chief among the terrorist list.

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Islamic Hamas movement slammed on Wednesday the United States decision to list Hamas chief Ismail Haneya among the world's terrorists. The designation freezes any assets Haniyeh may have in USA jurisdictions and bars Americans from any financial transactions with him.

It was a failed attempt to keep pressure on the Palestinian armed resistance, Hamas spokesman in Gaza Hazem Qassem said in an emailed statement.

The State Department similarly designated three groups - two Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups, and one Iranian-backed group - as terrorists.

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

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For his part, Khaled Qadoumi expressed gratitude to Iran for supporting Palestine and for its stances against the USA administration's move to recognize the city of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel. 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.

Haniyeh, who took over as Hamas leader in May, was a vocal critic of US President Donald Trump's decision in December to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh delivers a speech in Gaza City, on January 23, 2018.

The US government also slapped sanctions on Harakat al-Sabireen - a small militant group that splintered away from the Islamic Jihad, is close to Iran and operates in Gaza - and two other groups active in Egypt: Liwa al-Thawra and HASM.

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Christopher Sparks is a veteran journalist who has worked for metropolitan and community newspapers in New York City, Washington, D.C., upstate New York and Florida.

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