Germany's government has banned an organization it accuses of collecting donations that are sent to Hamas-related welfare projects. The Islamist movement is included on the European Union's terror group blacklist.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said in a statement that the International Humanitarian Relief Organization was banned Monday because it has used donations to support projects in Gaza that are related to Hamas – while presenting their activities to donors as humanitarian help.
"Under the guise of humanitarian aid, the IHH has long backed, with significant financial assistance, so-called social welfare organizations based in the Gaza Strip that can be linked to Hamas," he said.
"Donations to so-called social welfare groups belonging to Hamas, such as the millions given by IHH, actually support the terror organization Hamas as a whole."
Hamas, which runs Gaza, doesn't recognize Israel. De Maiziere said organizations that directly or indirectly work against Israel's right to exist lose their right to be active in Germany.
The European Union has included Hamas on its blacklist of terrorist organizations since 2003 in an effort to block the flow of funds supporting attacks against Israelis.
A German federal court ruled in 2004 that Hamas was a unified organization whose humanitarian aid work could not be separated from its "terrorist and political activities".
The Associated Press and AFP contributed to this report
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