US freezes Hamas-linked group's assets

KindHearts group disguised its activites as charity, is also linked to al-Qaeda.

kindhearts 298 88 (photo credit: AP)
kindhearts 298 88
(photo credit: AP)
The United States moved on Sunday to financially incapacitate a non-governmental organization for its alleged role in funneling money to the militant Palestinian group Hamas. The Treasury Department said the organization, KindHearts, was connected with the Hamas-affiliated Holy Land Foundation, based in Dallas, and the al-Qaida-affiliated Global Relief Foundation, a Chicago-area charity. KindHearts, the department said, operated out of Toledo, Ohio. Treasury's action means that US banks must freeze any assets belonging to the group and Americans are barred from doing business with it. Hamas now dominates the Palestinian legislature after winning last month's elections and is tapped to form the next government. The United States considers Hamas, which has killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings, a terrorist group. KindHearts officials, the Treasury Department said, have coordinated with Hamas leaders and made contributions to Hamas-affiliated organizations. "KindHearts is the progeny of Holy Land Foundation and Global Relief Foundation, which attempted to mask their support for terrorism behind the facade of charitable giving," said Stuart Levey, Treasury's under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. In 2001, the Bush administration froze the assets of the Holy Land and Global Relief foundations. The two charities were unsuccessful in getting the freeze lifted by US courts. Since sweeping the January 25 Palestinian elections, Hamas has refused to yield to international pressure to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.