The decision to order the freeze was taken unilaterally by the central bank without the knowledge of the government, “which learned about it through the press,” said Jordan’s Information Minister Nabil Sharif in a statement on Wednesday.

Amman’s pro-government daily al-Rai reported on Monday that the Bank Association had received written instructions from the central bank earlier in September ordering the freeze.

But banking sources quoted by al-Rai said that Hamas had no assets in Jordanian banks.

Hamas representative in Lebanon Usama Hamdan, among those named by the central bank not to be dealt with, welcomed Amman's move to withdraw its decision.

Charities named

The central bank specifically called on banks “to freeze any dealing”, current or future, with Hamas spiritual leader Shaikh Ahmad Yasin and five other leading members of the group.

The others were identified as Damascus-based officials Imad Khalil al-Alami, Khalid Mishaal and Musa Abu Marzuq.

Abd al-Aziz al-Rantissi in the occupied Gaza Strip was also named.

The charities were named as the Swiss-based Association de Secours Palestiniens, the France-based Comite de Bienfaisance et de Secours Aux Palestiniens and Interpal of Britain.

Austria’s Palestinian Association and the Sanabil Association for Relief and Development based in Lebanon were also listed.

The Palestinian Authority has frozen in August the bank accounts of six charities they claimed were linked to Hamas.