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Austria Rejects US Assertion About Palestinian Group - 2003-08-23

The Austrian government says it has no reason to believe a Vienna-based Palestinian group is financing terrorist activities, despite being included on a White House list of organizations with alleged links to the militant group Hamas.

The Ministry of Interior confirms that "some time ago" the United States provided a list of organizations, including the Palestinian Association of Austria, that were allegedly close to the radical Palestinian group Hamas.

The Palestinian Association was founded in 1993. A spokesman for the ministry, Rudolf Gollia, says the Austrian office for combating terrorism has already kept watch on the group and has found no evidence of subversive activity.

Mr. Gollia said "there are no indications that would lead to the conclusion that this association is financing terrorist organizations." The ministry says the association is operating fully within Austrian law and no action is planned.

The Bush administration has moved to freeze the assets of five organizations based in Europe that it believes raise money for the radical Palestinian Hamas.