Flotilla Group IHH May Earn 'Terrorist' Designation in US
The Turkish organization IHH, which took part in a Gaza-bound flotilla that ended in a bloody clash with IDF troops, may be designated a terrorist group in the United States, Fox News reported. The report was based on information from State Department spokesman Mark Toner.
Germany outlawed IHH last week, saying the group is affiliated with Hamas, which the European Union classifies as a terrorist organization.
IHH members were aboard the Mavi Marmara, which in late May tried along with other ships to dock in Gaza in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade on Hamas. When IDF soldiers attempted to board the ship they were attacked and wounded by the IHH men. Soldiers opened fire in self-defense, killing nine of the Turkish activists.
A majority of the senate signed a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to stand behind Israel and describing the IHH's role in the attack. “We are deeply concerned about the IHH’s role in this incident," they wrote, "and have additional questions about Turkey and any connections to Hamas... The IHH is a member of a group of Muslim charities, the Union of Good, which was designated by the US Treasury Department as a terrorist organization.. We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations…”
Toner told Fox that any change in the IHH's status would take time. “I believe we are looking at the IHH, but it's a long process to designate something a foreign terrorist organization,” he said. Other sources said that efforts to investigate IHH and classify it a terrorist group had encountered some resistance from within the Obama administration.