Israel agrees to freeze terrorists assets


Israel's Cabinet said today it has instructed Israeli banks to freeze assets belonging to groups on a US terrorism list.

It is unclear if the instruction can be carried out immediately under current regulations.

Environment Minister Mr Tzachi Hanegbi said if necessary, he would introduce legislation to allow the banks to implement the Cabinet decision.

US President Mr George W. Bush blocked the assets of 27 groups or individuals suspected of terrorism or involvement with terrorists in a September 24 directive.

Since then, 39 more groups have been added to the list.

In accordance with a worldwide US appeal, the Israeli Cabinet has now instructed all financial institutions to review their client lists and freeze accounts of any of the groups or individuals included on the list.

Minister Mr Dan Naveh voted against, saying Israel should not go along with the US crackdown on financial activity of terror groups.

He said this was because the militant Palestinian Hamas and Islamic Jihad, responsible for dozens of bombing attacks against Israelis in the past year, were not on the lists.