The UK has announced sanctions against four Hamas leaders and two of the militant group’s financiers in one of David Cameron’s first moves as Foreign Secretary.
Yahya Sinwar, Muhammed Deif, Marwan Issa, Musa Dudin, Abdelbasit Hamza and Nabil Chouman have been made subject to travel bans, asset freezes and arms embargoes that prohibit the sale of weapons to any of the individuals, the Foreign Office said.
The action is co-ordinated with the US and aimed at disrupting operations even if the leaders are “pulling the strings from outside of Gaza”, the department said.
Former prime minister Lord Cameron said: “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to disrupt the abhorrent activity of this terrorist organisation, working with the United States and our other allies, making it harder for them to operate and isolating them on the world stage.”
“The Palestinian people are victims of Hamas too. We stand in solidarity with them and will continue to support humanitarian pauses to allow significantly more lifesaving aid to reach Gaza.”
Sinwar, Deif and Issa are all senior leaders of Hamas while Dudin is a West Bank-based Hamas official and Hamza and Chouman are both financiers, the Foreign Office said.
The US also sanctioned Akram al-Ajouri, a leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
US secretary of state Antony Blinken said: “Iran’s support, primarily through its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, enables Hamas and PIJ’s terrorist activities, including through the transfer of funds and the provision of both weapons and operational training. Iran has trained PIJ fighters to produce and develop missiles in Gaza while also funding groups that provide financial support to PIJ-affiliated fighters.
“We are taking these actions in co-ordination with the United Kingdom to protect the international financial system from abuse by Hamas and its enablers. We will continue to work with our partners and allies to disrupt Hamas’s terrorist financing channels.”