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EU declares Hamas terrorist organization

ROME — European Union foreign ministers said Saturday that the union would officially declare all wings of the militant Palestinian group Hamas a terrorist organization and freeze its assets.

That decision, reached at a meeting of the ministers in Riva del Garda, Italy, further isolated Hamas at a volatile juncture in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.

It followed a similar decision by the United States last month, and it was prompted by a suicide bombing in Jerusalem on Aug. 19 that killed 22 people. Hamas claimed responsibility for the bombing.

"A consensus has been found to decide to include Hamas on the list of terrorist organizations," said the French foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, as the ministers concluded a two-day meeting.

France dropped its earlier objections to such a move, which it feared might harm any peace effort between Israelis and Palestinians and deprive Palestinians of important aid and social services.

The formalization and details of the decision, including which assets would be frozen and how, were to be worked out by union officials in Brussels next week.