U.S. sanctions Hamas chief; lists him on terror list

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The statement published by the US State Department said that sanctions will be imposed on Haniyeh and the Gaza-based terrorist organization, freezing any US-based assets and preventing US citizens from conducting business with the newly designated terrorists.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that the sanctions aim to curb the activities of "key terrorist groups and leaders - including two sponsored and directed by Iran - who are threatening the stability of the Middle East, undermining the peace process, and attacking our allies Egypt and Israel".

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

Harakat al-Sabireen "is an Iranian backed terrorist group that was established in 2014" and "operates primarily in Gaza and the West Bank", the State Department said.

In a meeting with the representative of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, held in Tehran on Tuesday, Hossein Amir Abdollahian described Hamas and Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine as two pillars of resistance against the Zionist regime of Israel.

The US Treasury and the State Department issued an official statement on Wednesday, designating Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh a global terrorist.

In Gaza, Hamas said: "The American decision to include Haniya on the terrorist list is a failed attempt to pressure the resistance".

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"This will never break our determination to carry on with resistance and stick to it until getting rid of the Israeli occupation", said Qassem.

Hamas, which has fought three wars against Israel since 2008, receives support from Iran.

He added that Tehran gives Palestinian militant groups "potentially up to $100 million annually".

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

Haniya, 54, was elected to be the group's political chief in May 2017, replacing Khaled Meshaal.

Born in 1963 in the Gaza Strip, he was exiled by Israel to southern Lebanon in 1992, along with scores of Hamas leaders, for about a year.

Haniyeh responded to that announcement with a call for a "comprehensive, popular intifadah" to confront Israel and the US. Washington says the new embassy will open in Jerusalem in 2019.

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