The United States removes several groups from its list of “foreign terrorist organizations”

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The US State Department on Friday stripped its official “foreign terrorist organization” label from Israeli, Basque, Egyptian, Palestinian and Japanese extremist groups, but all will remain under a separate, broader terrorist designation.

Kahane Chai, a Jewish extremist group linked to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, was removed from the FTO blacklist; the Palestinian jihadist group Mujahedin Shura Council in the vicinity of Jerusalem; and Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or ETA, a Basque separatist group that operated in Spain and France.

Japan’s Aum Shinrikyo sect, which launched a deadly sarin attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, and Gamaa Islamiya, the militant group led by blind cleric Omar Abdel Rahman, who died in a US prison in 2017, have also been removed. from the official list of the department. foreign terrorist organizations.

The FTO designation had enabled the United States to take strong unilateral action against group members and associates, seize assets, block travel to the United States, deport and – significantly – deport imprison up to 20 years anyone found providing “material support”. for them.

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None of the five are considered currently active organizations, and the State Department must review FTO designations every five years to see if they remain justified.

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“Our review of these five FTO designations determined that, as defined by the INA, the five organizations are no longer engaged in terrorism or terrorist activity and do not retain the ability and intent to do so,” the department said in a statement.

The revocations “recognize the success that Egypt, Israel, Japan and Spain have managed to defuse the terrorist threat from these groups,” he said.

Kahane Chai, from Kahane’s Kach movement, was designated FTO in 1997, three years after his supporter Baruch Goldstein massacred 29 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

The group’s founder, a supporter of the expulsion of Arabs from Israel, was assassinated in New York in 1990.

ETA has been accused of killing hundreds of people in attacks as the group sought an independent Basque homeland for four decades. Declaring itself eight years after a ceasefire in 2010, it dissolved.

The Mujahedin Shura Council was blacklisted for its role in the rocket attacks in Israel from 2010 to 2013.

The Gamaa Islamiya group was built around Abdel Rahman, a radical Islamist and American resident who is believed to have inspired the deadly 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

He was convicted in 1995 of several bomb plots and sentenced to life in prison.

The removal of the FTO label does not remove the five groups from the US Treasury blacklist.

They remain designated as Specially Designated Global Terrorist Entities (SDGTs), allowing the government to continue to hold seized assets and take control of others linked to the groups.

AFP

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