EU court says Hamas should be removed from terrorist list

An EU court ruled on Thursday that the Palestinian Islamist group, Hamas, be removed from the European Union’s terrorist list.

The court added that the decision to include the group was based on media reports.

In its ruling, the bloc’s second highest tribunal, however, said member states could keep Hamas’s assets frozen for three months to give time for further review or for an appeal.

The EU’s foreign policy arm said the bloc continued to view Hamas as a terrorist group.

“This was a legal ruling of the court based on procedural grounds,” the spokeswoman, Maja Kocijanic said. “We will look into this and decide on appropriate remedial action.”

The U.S. has urged the European Union not to change its stance.

“We believe that the EU should maintain its terrorism sanctions on Hamas,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, told a regular news briefing.

Israel, which has clashed repeatedly with Europe in recent years over Palestinian statehood ambitions, demanded Hamas remain blacklisted. It said the ruling showed “staggering hypocrisy” toward a Jewish state founded after the Holocaust.

“It seems that too many in Europe on whose soil six million Jews were slaughtered have learned nothing,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “But we in Israel, we have learned.”

He branded Hamas “a murderous terrorist organisation”.

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According to a report, Hamas holds sway in the Gaza Strip and its founding charter calls for the destruction of Israel. It has regularly battled Israel, most recently in a 50-day war this summer.

Most Western countries say it is a terrorist organisation, pointing to years of indiscriminate rocket strikes out of Gaza and waves of suicide attacks, primarily between 1993 and 2005.

(Reuters/NAN)

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