United States designates Hamas leader as terrorist

"These designations target 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", Secretary of State Rex TillersonRex Wayne TillersonWhat Trump didn't say in his State of the Union address Airline executives praise USA agreement with Qatar over subsidies Top Dems demand answers from State Department after employees cite career concerns MORE said in a statement.

Hamas was designated in 1997 as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and in 2001 as an SDGT by the United States. "Hamas has been responsible for an estimated 17 American lives killed in terrorist attacks".

The State Department on Wednesday also blacklisted the Gaza-based militant group Harakat al-Sabireen and two Egyptian organizations: Liwa al-Thawra and HASM.

The movement's leaders said they considered the US decision as "ridiculous". "Today's actions are an important step in denying them the resources they need to plan and carry out their terrorist activities".

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Hamas officials on Wednesday slammed the US State Department's designation of Hamas Politburo chairman Ismail Haniyeh as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

The State Department similarly designated three groups - two Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups, and one Iranian-backed group - as terrorists.

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

Hamas has fought three wars with Israel since 2008.

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For his part, Khaled Qadoumi expressed gratitude to Iran for supporting Palestine and for its stances against the USA administration's move to recognize the city of al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel.

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. Unlike Meshaal, Haniya will remain in the Gaza Strip.

In December, 2017, U.S. President Donald Trump announced his country's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city of Israel and announced to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to the city, sparking global outrage and condemnation.

Haniyeh responded to that announcement with a call for a "comprehensive, popular intifadah" to confront Israel and the US.

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