WASHINGTON- The United States on Wednesday put the head of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, Ismail Haniya, on its terror blacklist and slapped sanctions on him — a move sure to raise tensions, after Washington recognized Jerusalem as Israel s capital.
The 55-year-old Haniya, who was named head of Hamas in May 2017, represents the more pragmatic wing of the movement, which said the US move would not deter the group s “resistance.”
“Haniya has close links with Hamas military wing and has been a proponent of armed struggle, including against civilians,” the State Department said in a statement.
“He has reportedly been involved in terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks.”
Haniya is now on the US Treasury sanctions blacklist, which freezes any US-based assets he may have and bans any US person or company from doing business with him.
Hamas — which has controlled the Gaza Strip for more than a decade — had already been on the US terror blacklist since 1997.
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.