US announces third round of sanctions targeting Hamas

US Treasury Department has said that the sanctions were jointly coordinated with the UK and target Hamas financing.

Smoke rising over Gaza
Smoke billows during Israeli shelling on the Gaza Strip amid ongoing battles with the Palestinian armed group Hamas on November 14 [Jack Guez/AFP]

The United States and the United Kingdom have announced jointly coordinated sanctions targeting the Palestinian armed groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

In a statement on Tuesday, the US Department of the Treasury said that it was imposing a third round of sanctions on Hamas, targeting the group’s leadership and and the mechanisms through which Iran provides support to the group and the PIJ.

“Hamas’s actions have caused immense suffering and shown that terrorism does not occur in isolation,” US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the statement.

“Together with our partners we are decisively moving to degrade Hamas’s financial infrastructure, cut them off from outside funding, and block the new funding channels they seek to finance their heinous acts.”

Britain added sanctions on four Hamas senior leaders and two financiers, the Foreign Office said in a statement, including the group’s political leader in Gaza and the commander of its military arm.

The fresh sanctions against Hamas come more than one month after the group launched a deadly assault on southern Israel that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.

Israel has vowed to eliminate the group, launching a ground offensive and hammering the Gaza Strip with air strikes, severely restricting food, water and electricity and cutting off fuel supplies to Gaza’s more than 2.3 million residents.

Palestinian authorities in Gaza say more than 11,200 people have been killed in the Israeli assault, including more than 4,600 children.

About 70 percent of people in Gaza have been displaced by the fighting after the Israeli military ordered people in northern Gaza to move south, but Israel continues to bombard the southern end of the Strip.

The latest sanctions focus on Hamas leaders, as well as individuals and entities who allegedly act as conduits for Iranian funding. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US would continue to work with other countries to “disrupt these terrorist financing channels”.

In a press release, the Treasury Department said that the US has designated Mahmoud Khaled Zahhar, who it calls a “senior member and co-founder” of Hamas.

The sanctions also target the Lebanon-based money exchange company Nabil Chouman & Co, which the US says is used by Hamas to transfer money from Iran to Gaza. The owner of the company and his son were both also designated.

The US also took aim at the smaller PIJ, which is allied with Hamas and took part in the October 7 attacks, sanctioning Nasser Abu Sharif, the group’s representative to Iran, and Akram al-Ajouri, the group’s deputy secretary-general.

The sanctions freeze any US assets held by the designated individuals or entities and generally bar people in the US from dealing with them.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies