EU appeals Hamas court ruling taking group off terror list

The European Union launched an appeal against last month's EU court ruling that ordered the Palestinian group Hamas removed from its terror list for technical reasons, the bloc's foreign policy chief said on Monday.

PTI| Updated: Jan 19, 2015, 22:13 PM IST

Brussels: The European Union launched an appeal against last month's EU court ruling that ordered the Palestinian group Hamas removed from its terror list for technical reasons, the bloc's foreign policy chief said on Monday.

Federica Mogherini said the council of ministers would challenge some of the court's finding and consider future action to avoid similar annulments. At the same time, the EU appeal suspended the effects of the December 17 EU court ruling until a final decision is taken.

Hamas was put on the EU terrorist list as part of broader measures to fight terrorism in the wake of the September 11 attacks and its funds were frozen. Hamas has long contested the classification.

An EU high court said last month the reason for listing it was based too much on media and Internet reports, and not enough on acts examined by competent authorities.

Hamas won elections in 2006 and runs Gaza. The U.S. And Israel list Hamas as a terror organization because of its history of attacks aimed at civilians, including suicide bombings inside buses, restaurants and other public places as well as the thousands of rockets it has fired at residential neighborhoods in Israel.

The Israeli foreign ministry welcomed the EU appeal, saying "the decision reflects well the position that Hamas was and remains a terror organization."

Mogherini said that the freezing of funds and the ability to put some organizations on a terror list were essential to contain terror financing.

The December decision by the court came amid growing pressure from European legislators to recognize a Palestinian state, after years of stalemate in peace talks. There is also growing frustration in Europe with Israel's government after the Gaza war in 2014.