US blacklists Hamas military spokesman, heads of drone unit

EU sanctions armed wings of Hamas, Islamic Jihad for sexual violence on Oct. 7

Bloc says abuses by the Palestinian terrorists include ‘rape and subsequent murder of female minors, mutilation of corpses as well as genital mutilation’

File: An armed Hamas terrorist walking around the Supernova music festival, near Kibbutz Re'im in the Negev desert in southern Israel on October 7, where terrorists from Gaza massacred hundreds of people. (South First Responders/AFP)
File: An armed Hamas terrorist walking around the Supernova music festival, near Kibbutz Re'im in the Negev desert in southern Israel on October 7, where terrorists from Gaza massacred hundreds of people. (South First Responders/AFP)

The European Union on Friday imposed sanctions on the armed wings of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for “widespread” sexual violence during the October 7 onslaught against Israel.

The bloc said terrorists from the two Palestinian groups — already on the European Union’s terrorism blacklist — “committed widespread sexual and gender-based violence in a systematic manner, using it as a weapon of war.”

The decision to impose the sanctions was part of an agreement among EU states that will now see the bloc blacklist violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank.

During the Hamas-led attack on October 7, Palestinian terrorists killed some 1,200 people and took 253 hostages while committing brutal atrocities, sparking the ongoing war between Israel and the Gaza-ruling terror group.

The EU said that the abuses by Hamas terrorists included “the rape and subsequent murder of female minors, mutilation of corpses as well as genital mutilation.”

It also accused the assailants of the “targeted abduction of women and girls.”

A screenshot from an IDF interrogation video of captured Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist Manar Qassem, who confesses to raping an Israeli woman in the October 7 attack, March 28, 2024. (Screenshot/Israel Defense Forces)

Meanwhile, the US Treasury Department on Friday announced new sanctions on the spokesman of Hamas’s military wing and leaders of its drone unit.

The US sanctions targeted Hudhayfa Samir ‘Abdallah al-Kahlut, also known as “Abu Obeida,” who has been the spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades since at least 2007, the department said.

The sanctions also targeted William Abu Shanab, commander of the Lebanon-based al-Shimali unit, Bara’a Hasan Farhat assistant to Abu Shanab, the commander of the al-Shimali unit, and Khalil Muhammad ‘Azzam, an intelligence official.

“Today’s joint action reinforces our continued, collective focus on disrupting Hamas’s ability to conduct further attacks, including through cyber warfare and the production of UAVs,” Brian Nelson, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said, referring to unmanned aerial vehicles.

Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, gives a video statement on July 23, 2019. (Screen capture/Facebook, File)

“Treasury, in coordination with our allies and partners, will continue to target Hamas’s facilitation networks wherever they operate, including in the cyber domain,” he said.

As a result of the sanctions, all property and interests in property of the designated people that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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