FACTBOX-'Hamas-related' charities blacklisted by U.S.
Aug 20 (Reuters) - A U.S.-backed campaign against Hamas is being expanded to include Islamic charities that helped the group win the hearts and minds of Palestinians.
One of the largest and best-funded Islamic charities in the Gaza Strip, the al-Salah Association was placed on the U.S. government's blacklist on August 7, the first "Hamas-related" charity added since 2003. Designated charities are cut off from the U.S. financial system.
The following "Hamas-related" charities have been added to the U.S. government list since 2001:
* Established in 1978, al-Salah runs two schools and four medical centers and provides support each month to the families of more than 10,000 Palestinian children who have lost their fathers. Officials with the organisation say its programmes are open to all poor Palestinians, whether they are from Hamas or not. The U.S. government said Hamas has used al-Salah "to finance its terrorist agenda".
* The Sanabil Association for Relief and Development, based in Lebanon, was added to the blacklist in August 2003. The U.S. government said it had received large quantities of funds raised by major Hamas-affiliated charities in Europe and the Middle East and, in turn, provided that funding to Hamas.
* The U.S. government in August 2003 said it cracked down on two of what it called Hamas's "primary fundraisers" in France and Switzerland: The Comite de Bienfaisance et de Secours aux Palestiniens and the Association de Secours Palestinien. The U.S. government said the charities collected large amounts of money from mosques and Islamic centres, which are then transferred to sub-organizations of Hamas.
- A group known as Interpal/The Palestinian Relief and Development Fund was also targeted by the U.S. government in August 2003. The U.S. government said Interpal, headquartered in Britain, was used to hide the flow of money to Hamas.
- Al Aqsa Foundation, blacklisted in May 2003, had headquarters in Germany and branch offices in the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, Sweden, Pakistan, South Africa, Yemen and elsewhere. The U.S. government said it used "humanitarian relief as cover to provide support to the Hamas terrorist organization".
- The Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development was listed in December 2001 and again in May 2002. The United States accused the foundation, which was initially established in California and later relocated to Texas, of providing millions of dollars of material and logistical support to Hamas.
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