Australia announced today, Thursday, its intention to designate the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) with its military and political wings as a "terrorist organization", becoming the latest Western country to take this step.

Australian Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews said Prime Minister Scott Morrison intends to designate Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, as a "terrorist organization" under the country's criminal law.

Andrews added - in a statement - that the Morrison government has zero tolerance for "violence" and will continue to focus on keeping Australians safe from "terrorism and violent extremism".

The designation will place restrictions on funding Hamas, any kind of support for it, and some activities related to the movement that may carry a sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

Canberra had previously included the Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas' military wing) on ​​its terrorist list, but the new designation includes the entire organization.

The United States and Britain classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, and a similar decision by the European Union was the subject of a long judicial dispute in the courts, which eventually led to the return of Hamas to the terrorist list.

In 2006, Hamas - which was founded in 1987 - won the most seats in the Palestinian parliament, a victory that led to an armed conflict with the Fatah movement led by President Mahmoud Abbas, and ended with its control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The movement has an armed wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, which has previously carried out many military operations against Israel, and fought many battles with it, in response to its aggression against the Palestinian people.

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