The Australian government said that it plans to label the Palestinian militant group Hamas as a terrorist organization, following other Western nations that have done so.
“The views of Hamas and the violent extremist groups listed today are deeply disturbing, and there is no place in Australia for their hateful ideologies,” Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said on Thursday.
Andrews said she had ordered Australian authorities to finalize the group’s listing “as soon as possible.”
The listing will cover the entire group — currently, Australia only has the military wing of Hamas, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, on its list of terror groups.
Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem responded to the decision, saying that the move is clearly biased to Israel and that the group condemns it.
“Those who should be classified as terrorists are the Israeli occupation who deliberately target Palestinians and violate international and humanitarian laws and covenants,” Qassem told Al Jazeera.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hailed the move as a crucial “step” against terrorism and thanked his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison. “I welcome the news that Australia will list Hamas as a terrorist organization in its entirety,” Bennett wrote in Twitter.
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