EU adds Hamas’s political leader Yahya Sinwar to terror list

The Council of the European Union (EU) on Tuesday added Yahya Sinwar, the political leader of Hamas, to their terrorist list as a result of the group’s surprise attack on Israel on October 7.

The Council also added Ahmed Khaled Muller, a member of Al-Shabab in Somalia, to its autonomous sanctions list against ISIS and Al-Qaida. Muller has participated in combat operations and committed terrorist acts on behalf of Al-Shabab, a terrorist organization affiliated with Al-Qaida. 

These individuals added to the terrorist list are now subject to the freezing of their funds and other financial assets in EU member states, while EU operators are prohibited from making funds and economic resources available to them.

The Council stated, “The EU remains committed to taking decisive action against those who continue to threaten international peace and security by planning, financing, and committing terrorist attacks and by spreading their deadly propaganda around the world.”

The Council of the EU had already added Mohammed Deif, Commander General of the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedin al-Qassam Brigade, and Marwan Issa, the deputy Commander of the military wing of Hamas, on December 8. Their funds and financial assets were also frozen. 

A European Union flag flies outside the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, December 19, 2019. (credit: REUTERS/YVES HERMAN)

The Council stated that these decisions reconfirm “the EU’s resolve in countering the continued terrorist threat posed by Al-Qaeda, ISIL (Da’est) and their regional affiliates.” 

These lists are reviewed regularly, at least every six months. There are 13 people and 21 groups and entities on these lists. 

Israel, European Jewish Congress welcome decision

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed what he said was a “just and moral decision” by the EU.

“This decision is also a result of our diplomatic efforts to strangle the resources of the Hamas, to delegitimize them and prohibit all support to them,” Katz wrote on social media platform X. “We will continue to eradicate the root of evil, in Gaza and wherever it raises its head.”

The European Jewish Congress (EJC) also welcomed the decision. “The move is welcome, correct and logical,” EJC President Ariel Muzicant said. “Hamas is a terror organisation, there is no difference whatsoever between its so-called military and political wings and it should stand to reason that all its leaders should automatically appear on sanctions lists of the EU and its member states.

“The tragedy,” he said, “is that it took the massacre of October 7 for this recognition of the need to sanction Sinwar. It should now be evident to all who Hamas is and who its leaders are. A terror organisation committed to the wiping out of Israel and the slaughter of Jews.” 

The EJC called upojn the European Union to “automatically extend this sanctions list to all senior political and military leaders of Hamas, whether those directly involved in the terror campaign in Gaza or those nestled up in the hotels of Qatar and Turkey. Europe must show no tolerance to terrorism anywhere.” 

Ismail Haniyeh cries foul, via spokesmasn

Meanwhile, Taher Al-Nono, media advisor to Qatar-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, accused the EU of bias and called for an end to what he said was its “double-standard policy.”

“These are ridiculous and silly sanctions because everyone knows that Yahya Al-Sinwar has no assets or money, neither in Palestine nor outside it,” he told Reuters.

Yahya Sinwar is worth between $1 and $3 million, according to the BBC. 

“Such a decision has no value against Hamas, but the idea of imposing sanctions on the leaders of resistance and Hamas, which is resisting the (Israeli) occupation, as granted by international law, shows bias to the occupation.”

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