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Australia to list Hamas as ‘terrorist group’

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CANBERRA: The Australian government will list the most popular Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as a ‘terrorist organisation’, including its political wing.

Hamas holds a majority in the parliament of the Palestinian National Authority.

Australia already has listed the military wing of the movement, but will now join the United Kingdom, the United States, Israel and others in extending the designation to the group’s political branch.

Home affairs minister Karen Andrews denounced the views of Hamas as “deeply disturbing” on Thursday, adding “there is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies.”

“It is vital that our laws target not only terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organisations that plan, finance and carry out these acts,” Andrews said.

The designation will place restrictions on financing or providing other support to Hamas with certain offences carrying a 25-year prison sentence.

Israel has maintained a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007, when Hamas took power in the impoverished enclave.

The United States has long designated Hamas a terror group.

A similar EU decision had been the subject of a protracted court battle, that eventually resulted in Hamas being returned to the terror list.

Andrews had written to state governments to finalise the listing of Hamas as soon as possible.

Australia also said it had added the US-based far-right extremist group National Socialist Order to its list of outlawed terrorist organisations, bringing the total number of groups to 28.

The National Socialist Order, formerly known as Atomwaffen Division, advocates for a global “race war” and the collapse of democratic societies.

It is only the third far-right group to be designated by Australia as a terrorist organisation.

The Base, a neo-Nazi white supremacist group formed in the United States in 2018, was listed in December and the British-based Sonnenkrieg Division was listed in August.

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