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Feds Freeze Assets of Three 'Hamas-Linked' Groups

Feds Freeze Assets of Three 'Hamas-Linked' Groups

Reuters, Dec. 4, 2001
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hamas, osama bin laden, holy war, jihad, islam, islamic terrorism, islamic extremism, islamists, muslims, world trade center aftermath, terrorists, religion news report provides news of interest to those who work in Christian apologetics and countercult ministries.  It includes information about religious cults, sects, new religious movements, and related issues, such as religious freedom, religious tolerance, and cult crimes.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Widening its war on terrorism to include Palestinian militant groups, the United States on Tuesday froze the assets of three groups it says are linked to Hamas, the organization that took responsibility for weekend suicide bombings in Israel.

U.S. officials said they moved against a U.S.-based charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, as well as the Al Aqsa International Bank and the Beit El-Mal Holdings Company, which operate in the West Bank, saying all three were intimately involved in funding or supporting Hamas.

President Bush said federal agents raided the Holy Land Foundation's Richardson, Texas, headquarters and its offices in California, New Jersey and Illinois, saying the group gave Hamas money to recruit suicide bombers and support their families.

The U.S. actions represented a significant broadening of the U.S.-led war on terrorism beyond the al Qaeda network of Islamic militant Osama bin Laden, the accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

They also appeared to reflect growing U.S. frustration at escalating violence in the Middle East, where Hamas, a militant group that opposes Israel's existence, claimed responsibility for three weekend suicide bombings in Israel that killed 25 people and injured about 200.

A U.S. official said the administration had planned to act against the three groups early next week, but moved up the announcement because of the weekend bombings, which marked one of the deadliest phases in the 14-month Palestinian uprising against Israeli occupation.

Bush, who has long called for Arafat to stop violence by militant Palestinian groups, described the Holy Land Foundation as intimately involved in funding Hamas operations.

"Money raised by the Holy Land Foundation is used by Hamas to support schools and indoctrinate children to grow up into suicide bombers, the president said. "Money raised by the Holy Land Foundation is also used by Hamas to recruit suicide bombers and to support their families."

Since Sept. 11, the United States has tightened laws to control money laundering, has ordered a freeze on assets of suspected individuals and organizations and has closed money-transfer businesses suspected of aiding targeted groups.

The United States initially placed Al Qaeda and five allegedly associated groups under tight financial controls and last month broadened the list to 22 others, including Hamas.

The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development is not related to a Christian charity called the Holy Land Foundation, which has offices in Washington and Jerusalem.

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Feds Freeze Assets of Three 'Hamas-Linked' Groups
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