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US Moves to Freeze Assets of Organizations Linked to Hamas - 2003-08-22

The Bush administration has moved to freeze the assets of organizations it says raise money for the radical Palestinian group Hamas. President Bush says the action is being taken after Hamas claimed responsibility for a suicide attack this week in Jerusalem that killed 20 people.

In a statement the Bush administration announced it has frozen the assets of five European-based organizations it says are providing money to Hamas.

The move, being carried out by the U.S. Treasury Department, also targets six top Hamas leaders.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing on a Jerusalem bus that has prompted a new round of violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the statement President Bush says Hamas has "reaffirmed it is a terrorist organization committed to violence against Israelis and to undermining progress towards peace."

He called on "all nations supportive of peace in the Middle East to recognize Hamas as a terrorist organization and to take all appropriate actions to deny it support."

Though the United States has taken such action against Hamas before, a senior administration official who asked not to be identified said that Friday's actions specifically targeted individuals and organizations based in Europe.