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Bipartisan House bill seeks to formally designate third-largest Gaza terror group

“The time has come to hold this heinous terror group accountable for decades of cowardly attacks,” said Rep. Brad Sherman, who sponsored the legislation.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) speaks at a Brookings Institution panel on Oct. 27, 2015 about "Indonesia in the changing world." Credit: Paul Morigi/Brookings Institution, Creative Commons.
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) speaks at a Brookings Institution panel on Oct. 27, 2015 about "Indonesia in the changing world." Credit: Paul Morigi/Brookings Institution, Creative Commons.

A new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday aims to designate the third-largest terror group in Gaza as a U.S. Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization for its participation in the Oct. 7 terror attack in southern Israel and in other attacks on U.S. and Israeli civilians.

The bill’s sponsor Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) stated that it is “long overdue” to designate Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees as a terror group, alongside Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

“For far too long, the Popular Resistance Committees have flown under the radar and avoided real consequences for their horrific crimes,” Sherman said. “The time has come to hold this heinous terror group accountable for decades of cowardly attacks against innocent Israelis, Americans and Palestinians, and apply the full force of U.S. sanctions to cut off the PRC from the global financial system.”

He added that the bill “demonstrates the United States’ unwavering commitment to making sure each and every perpetrator of Oct. 7 answers for the genocidal acts committed on that day.”

Former members of Fatah who opposed the Oslo Accords founded the PRC in 2000. The terror group, which the Berlin-based European Council on Foreign Relations calls a “a loose grouping of armed factions in Gaza,” has worked closely with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

The Popular Resistance Committees has also said that it is backed by Hezbollah and Iran.

The PRC claimed joint responsibility for the Oct. 7 terror attacks alongside Hamas and PIJ, stating that it killed and captured Israeli soldiers.

In 2003, the group bombed a U.S. diplomatic convoy in the northeast Gaza Strip, wounding a diplomat and killing three U.S. security guards.

Tuesday’s legislation is formally titled the “Accountability for Terrorist Perpetrators of Oct. 7 Act” and is cosponsored by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), David Kustoff (R-Tenn.) and Brad Schneider (D-Ill.).

It would require the U.S. secretary of state to submit a report to Congress within 90 days about whether the PRC meets the criteria to be designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist.

It requires the secretary of state to do the same for the Lion’s Den organization, a Judea and Samaria-based terrorist organization that was the focus of much of the Israel Defense Forces’ attention before Oct. 7.

“This bill updates our sanctions to cover all of the terrorist groups operating in the West Bank and Gaza,” said McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“The United States and Israel will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defend our mutual security,” he added. “We will use all available authorities to stop funding and other support going to violent terrorists.”

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