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U.S. State Department Designates Senior Hamas Official as Global Terrorist | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Palestinian Hamas supporters gather for a rally in Gaza City, August 7, 2014 (photo credit: AP/Khalil Hamra)

Ramallah – Hamas Movement condemned on Saturday a recent decision by the U.S. State Department to designate senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad as Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT), while Hammad laid little importance on this issue, noting that such decision would not prevent him from assuming his current responsibilities within the movement.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the U.S. State Department said it has designated Fathi Ahmad Mohammad Hammad as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT) “under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which imposes sanctions on foreign persons and groups determined to have committed- or pose a significant risk of committing- acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.”

The statement added that Hammad, as a senior Hamas official, had engaged in terrorist activity for Hamas, which is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and SDGT by the U.S. State Department.

It also noted that Hammad served as Hamas’s Interior Minister where he was responsible for security within Gaza, “a position he used to coordinate terrorist cells.”

“Hammad established Al-Aqsa TV, which is a primary Hamas media outlet with programs designed to recruit children to become Hamas armed fighters and suicide bombers upon reaching adulthood,” the statement said.

The State Department warned that the imposition of sanctions by the U.S. against terrorists was a “powerful tool”.

“Today’s action notifies the U.S. public and the international community that Hammad is actively engaged in terrorism. Designations of terrorist individuals and groups expose and isolate organizations and individuals, and result in denial of access to the U.S. financial system.

Moreover, designations can assist or complement the law enforcement actions of other U.S. agencies and other governments,” the statement said.

In comments, Hammad said he would not be intimidated by “pro-Israeli decisions”.

“This decision, which serves Israeli interests, represents an additional black page in the notorious U.S. Administration’s history,” the Hamas official said.

Hammad is also a member of the Palestinian parliament. He won the 2006 parliamentary elections on Hamas list.

Palestinian Change and Reform Bloc – backed by Hamas Movement – strongly condemned Hammad’s designation as SDGT.

In a statement, the parliamentary bloc described this decision as a “blatant violation of parliamentary immunity and a transgression of all diplomatic standards.”