SYDNEY (AFP): Australia on Thursday said it would list all of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas as a terrorist organization, the latest Western nation to do so.
Canberra had previously listed Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades as a terror group, but the new designation will list the organization in its entirety.
Hamas currently controls the Gaza Strip, has vowed to “liberate” Jerusalem by force and has frequently carried out attacks on Israeli targets.
“The views of Hamas and the violent extremist groups listed today are deeply disturbing, and there is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies,” said home affairs minister Karen Andrews.
The designation will place restrictions on financing or providing other support to Hamas — with certain offenses carrying a 25-year prison sentence.
“It is vital that our laws target not only terrorist acts and terrorists, but also the organizations that plan, finance and carry out these acts,” Andrews said.
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.