WASHINGTON ( Associated Press) – The United States has removed five extremist groups from a list of foreign terrorist organizations, all of which are believed to be dormant. In a notice published in the Federal Register on Friday, the State Department said it had removed the groups after a mandatory five-year review of their designations.
Al-Qaeda, also up for review, was placed on the list, created under the federal Immigration and Nationality Act, or INA.
“Our review of these five FTO designations determined that, as defined by the INA, the five organizations no longer engage in terrorism or terroristic activities and retain the ability and intent to do so,” the State Department said in a statement. don’t have.” “Therefore, as required by the INA, these FTO designations are being rescinded.”
Many of the removed groups once faced significant threats, killing hundreds if not thousands in Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The decision was politically sensitive to the Biden administration and the countries in which the organizations operated. This can lead to criticism from the victims and their families.
The sacked organizations are the Basque separatist group ETA, the Japanese sect Aum Shinrikyo, the radical Jewish group Kahane Kach and two Islamist groups operating in Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Egypt.
“These actions are intended to reflect the determination of the United States to comply with legal requirements to review and revoke FTO designations,” the State Department said. “These repeals do not seek to ignore or excuse the terrorist acts each of these groups have already engaged or the harm caused to its victims, but rather the success that Egypt, Israel, Japan and Spain have achieved in reducing the threat of terrorism. have to be recognized by these groups.”
The Associated Press reported Sunday that the evictions would take place this week based on information sent to Congress. on 13 May.
Removing the groups from the list has the immediate effect of revoking a series of restrictions placed on the designations. These include a property hoarding and travel ban as well as a ban on any Americans providing any material support to groups or their members. In the past material assistance provision has been broadly defined to include money or material assistance, in some cases even medical care.
All except one of the five groups were first designated a foreign terrorist organization in 1997 and have remained on the list for the past 25 years.
The groups removed from the list are:
– Aum Shinrikyo (AUM), the Japanese “Supreme Truth” sect that carried out the deadly sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995, killing 13 and sickening hundreds. The group has been considered largely inactive since the execution of its top echelons, including leader Shoko Asahara.in 2018. It was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997.
– Basque Fatherland and Liberty, or ETAwhich launched a separatist campaign of bombings and killings in northern Spain and elsewhere for decades, killing more than 800 people and injuring thousands more, until a ceasefire was declared in 2010 and its last in 2018. The leaders were disbanded after the arrest and trial. It was designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997.
-Say Chai, or Kach. Radical Orthodox Jewish group founded by ultranationalist Israeli Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1971. He led the group until his assassination in 1990. Members of the group have killed, attacked or otherwise threatened or harassed Arab, Palestinian and Israeli government officials, but the organization has been inactive since 2005. The group was first named in 1997. ,
The Mujahideen Shura Council in the Jerusalem environment, an umbrella group of several jihadist organizations based in Gaza, has claimed responsibility for several rockets and other attacks on Israel since its founding in 2012. The council was first nominated in 2014.
– Gama al-Islamia, or Islamic Group-IG, an Egyptian Sunni Islamic movement that fought to topple the Egyptian government during the 1990s. This led to hundreds of fatal attacks on police and security forces as well as tourists. The group was first named in 1997.