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Egypt welcomes US designation of 2 groups as terrorist

Egyptian authorities believe they are splinter factions of the Muslim Brotherhood which has been outlawed since 2013

Gulf News

Cairo: Egypt has welcomed a US designation of two militant groups targeting Egyptian security and public figures as “terrorist” groups.

The US State Department labeled the Hasm movement and Liwaa Al Thawra as “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” groups on Wednesday, which blocks any assets they may have in US jurisdictions and bars Americans from making financial transactions with them.

Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday the move is “a positive development” and “a practical display of solidarity with Egypt against terrorism.”

Egyptian authorities believe they are splinter factions of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organisation that Egypt has outlawed since 2013.

The US says some leaders of the two groups were previously associated with the Brotherhood.

Militant attacks have surged since the military’s 2013 ouster of President Mohammad Morsi, a senior Brotherhood figure.

On its part, Turkey on Friday denounced the US decision to put the head of Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas on its terror blacklist, saying it hoped the move would not have a negative impact on Ankara’s humanitarian aid to Gaza.

The US State Department on Wednesday also slapped sanctions on Esmail Haniyah, who was named head of Hamas in May 2017.

Hamas has been on the US terror blacklist since 1997 but Turkey’s ruling Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party has friendly ties with the movement.

“We are concerned that this decision of the US administration, which disregards the realities on the ground, could undermine the Middle East peace process, including the efforts for intra-Palestinian peace and reconciliation,” Hami Aksoy, the Turkish foreign ministry spokesman, said in a statement.

The moves comes as Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip for more than a decade, has reached a fragile reconciliation deal with Fatah, the movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

“We also hope that the decision will not have a negative impact on our country’s humanitarian assistance and economic development activities towards Gaza.”

Aksoy said the move overlooked the fact that Hamas is “an important reality of Palestinian political life”.

Haniyah is now on the US Treasury sanctions blacklist, which freezes any US-based assets he may have and bans any US person or company from doing business with him.

Haniya replaced Khaled Meshaal, who now lives in Doha in exile.

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