Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : UK and US target Hamas with new sanctions to isolate terror group [December 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 13 December 2023.

The UK and US have announced new sanctions on the leaders and financiers of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

  • UK and US target leaders and financiers of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) with new sanctions in fresh clampdown on terror groups
  • Coordinated sanctions aim to isolate Hamas through freezing assets and imposing travel bans
  • Foreign Secretary has committed to disrupting acts of terror and ensuring “Hamas has no future in Gaza”.

The UK has sanctioned seven further individuals linked to Hamas, to counter the ongoing threat posed by the terror organisation, cut off its access to finances and impose fresh travel restrictions on individuals linked to the group to disrupt its operations.

Today’s move, coordinated with the United States, is the UK’s second round of targeted sanctions imposed on figures associated with Hamas since the October 7 attacks on Israel.

Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas’ co-founder, is among those targeted in today’s sanctions. Also targeted is Ali Baraka, Hamas’s Head of External Relations, who has publicly defended the October 7 attacks and sought to justify the taking of hostages.

Those being sanctioned today include a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a terror organisation which was also involved in the October 7 attacks.

The sanctions target key figures in the network that has financed Hamas, including individuals in Lebanon and Algeria. These stringent measures show that individuals linked to Hamas will not be able to escape accountability, even if they are operating from outside of Gaza.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron said:

Hamas can have no future in Gaza. Today’s sanctions on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will continue to cut off their access to funding and isolate them further.

We will continue to work with partners to reach a long-term political solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.

Those now subject to UK travel bans and asset freezes include:

  • Mahmoud Zahar – a Gaza-based Hamas leader and co-founder
  • Ali Baraka – the Lebanon-based Head of External Relations for Hamas
  • Maher Obeid – a political leader who has held senior positions in Hamas
  • Akram al-Ajouri – the Syria-based Deputy Secretary General of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Leader of the Al-Quds Brigades, PIJ’s military wing
  • Khaled Chouman and Rida Ali Khamis – who have channelled funds to Hamas through their Lebanon-based currency exchanges
  • Aiman Ahmad Al Duwaik – an Algeria-based financier for Hamas who has helped run the organisation’s overseas investment portfolio

The UK and the US stand united in their solidarity with Israel and its fight against Hamas, while being clear their actions must be in line with International Humanitarian Law. We continue to support efforts to prevent a regional escalation of the conflict and allow crucial humanitarian aid access to Gaza.

The Foreign Secretary recently visited the region, where he announced the UK would give a further £30m in humanitarian aid to the United Nations and other agencies on the ground. This will provide shelters, blankets, food and medicine to civilians in Gaza.

The UK has already sent 51 tonnes of lifesaving aid to the region and doubled its funding commitment to the Occupied Palestinian Territories this year.

Membership and expressing support for Hamas is an illegal act in the UK, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom and United States, as well as the European Union, have designated it a terrorist group.

Today’s announcement follows sanctions put in place by the UK last month, which targeted Hamas’ political leader in Gaza, along with other top-ranking officials and financiers. Sanctions form part of a wider tranche of measures aimed at disrupting the group’s acts of terror, including the recently announced international taskforce set up to enable the UK and partners to share financial intelligence.

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