The European Council, which represents the national governments of all 27 European Union member states, agreed on Tuesday to impose sanctions on Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar in response to the Islamist group’s Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel that claimed at least 1,200 lives and wounded thousands.
The terrorist leader was already placed under sanctions by the United States and the United Kingdom in 2015 and 2023, respectively.
Effective immediately, Sinwar will be “subject to the freezing of his funds and other financial assets in E.U. member states. It is also prohibited for E.U. operators to make funds and economic resources available to him,” an official statement from Brussels said on Tuesday.
Last month, the European Council added Hamas “military” leaders Mohammed Deif and Marwan Issa to the list of sanctioned individuals.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz, in a post on X, thanked E.U. member states for their “just and moral decision.”
“This decision is also a result of our diplomatic efforts to strangle the resources of Hamas, to delegitimize them and prohibit all support to them. We will continue to eradicate the root of evil, in Gaza and wherever it raises its head,” tweeted Katz.
Sinwar, who is believed to have masterminded the Oct. 7 attacks, is thought to be hiding in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis, having surrounded himself with a large number of hostages, preventing the Israel Defense Forces from carrying out a strike on him.
On Oct. 14, IDF International Spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht told journalists that Sinwar and his entire command team “are in our sights.”
“Yahya Sinwar is the face of evil. He is the mastermind behind this, like [Osama] bin Laden was. He built his career on murdering Palestinians when he understood they were collaborators. That’s how he became known as the butcher of Khan Yunis,” said Hecht.
Sinwar’s death is only a matter of time, a senior Biden administration official said in December, pledging that “justice will be served.”
Coinciding with a visit to the region by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, the official, who spoke to reporters for 35 minutes from a car in Tel Aviv, said: “I think it’s safe to say his [Sinwar’s] days are numbered. He has American blood on his hands.”
Earlier this month, E.U. foreign-policy chief Josep Borrell demanded that the international community impose a “solution” to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
“What we have learned over the last 30 years, and what we are learning now with the tragedy experienced in Gaza, is that the solution must be imposed from outside,” Borrell said.
“Peace will only be achieved in a lasting manner if the international community gets involved intensely to achieve it and imposes a solution,” he added, referring to the United States, Europe and Arab countries.