US, Britain Impose Sanctions On Hamas

The United States and Britain on Tuesday imposed a third round of sanctions targeting the Palestinian militant group Hamas, trying to curb Iranian funding of the group and one of its allies, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, following their shock attack last month on Israel.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement the two countries are trying “to deny Hamas the ability to raise and use funds to carry out its atrocities.”

“Hamas’s actions have caused immense suffering and shown that terrorism does not occur in isolation,” Yellen said. “Together with our partners we are decisively moving to degrade Hamas’s financial infrastructure, cut them off from outside funding, and block the new funding channels they seek to finance their heinous acts.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the sanctions are aimed at protecting the international financial system “from abuse by Hamas and its enablers.”

“Iran’s support, primarily through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, enables Hamas and [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] terrorist activities, including through the transfer of funds and the provision of both weapons and operational training,” Blinken said. “Iran has trained PIJ fighters to produce and develop missiles in Gaza while also funding groups that provide financial support to PIJ-affiliated fighters.”

Israel says that Hamas fighters killed 1,200 people inside the Jewish state in the attack last month and captured about 240 hostages, only four of whom it has released. Israel has responded with air attacks that Hamas medical authorities say have killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including thousands of women and children.

Hamas is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the United States, the European Union, Britain and others.

Mahmoud Khaled Zahhar, a senior member and co-founder of Hamas; PIJ’s representative to Iran and the Damascus-based deputy secretary-general of PIJ and leader of its militant wing were among those sanctioned by Washington and London.

Nabil Chouman & Co., a Lebanon-based money exchange group, was also targeted, along with its owner and founder. Treasury accused the company of serving as a conduit for transferring funds to Hamas and said it transferred tens of millions of dollars to the militants.

The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets held by the Hamas officials and bars Americans from conducting any business with them.