EU targets six people under new Hamas sanctions scheme

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union on Friday imposed asset freezes and travel bans on six people it said were linked to Hamas, under a new sanctions regime targeting the Palestinian militant group.

The EU already listed Hamas as a terrorist organisation but moved to create a legal framework focused on the group after its deadly attack on southern Israel on Oct. 7.

The list could be widened to target “all those who support, materially or financially”, Hamas or Islamic Jihad, another militant islamist group operating mainly in the Gaza strip which took part in October’s assault, said the Council of the European Union, which represents the bloc’s member states.

The Council listed those sanctioned as Sudan-based financier Abdelbasit Hamza Elhassan Mohamed Khair, Nabil Chouman, the former’s son Khaled Chouman, senior Hamas financier Rida Ali Khamis, senior Hamas operative Musa Dudin and Algeria-based financier Aiman Ahmad Al Duwaik.

Arms trading, supporting actions undermining the stability or security of Israel, and involvement in serious humanitarian law or human rights breaches were cited as possible reasons for sanctioning.

“The new sanctions framework shall apply until 19 January 2025. It shall be kept under constant review and renewed or amended as appropriate,” the Council said in a press release.

A senior EU official earlier on Friday said the first batch of sanctioned individuals was linked to providing funds to the group.

Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by both the EU and the United States, has established a secret network of companies managing $500 million of investments in companies from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Treasury has said.

Separately, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Friday alleged that Israel over the past years had itself financed the creation of Hamas, publicly contradicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has denied such allegations.

(Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Andrew Gray)