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Palestinians urge Sudan to hand over confiscated assets

·2-min read
FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: Sudan's former president Omar Hassan al-Bashir smiles as he is seen inside a cage at the courthouse where he is facing corruption charges, in Khartoum

By Nidal al-Mughrabi

GAZA (Reuters) -The Palestinian Authority urged Sudan's government on Saturday to hand over assets it has seized as part of a crackdown targeting Sudan-based operations to fund the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Sudan was long an ally of Hamas under former President Omar al-Bashir but since he was overthrown in 2019, Sudanese authorities have taken control of investments and companies they say channelled funding to the Islamist group for years.

"We hope that the state of #Sudan, which has always been a supporter (people and a government) to #Palestine, to hand over the movable and immovable funds that were confiscated to the State of Palestine and its Government," Hussein Al-Sheikh, a senior Palestinian official close to President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Twitter.

Hamas - a bitter rival of Abbas - said on Friday it had no links to companies and individuals targeted by Sudan's crackdown, saying the seized assets belonged to Palestinian investors and businesses.

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk accused Sheikh of "fishing in troubled waters."

"What happened in #Sudan is a conflict between the civilian and military parts in #Hamdok's government to win US support. A cheap game using the name of the movement as a slander," wrote Abu Marzouk on his Twitter account late on Saturday.

In Khartoum, a senior official in the taskforce overseeing government-led asset seizures did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The taskforce has said it does not seize legitimate private property but rather retrieves public property that was misappropriated during Bashir's long rule.

Hamas is designated by the West as a terrorist organisation, and Sudan's takeover of at least a dozen companies that officials say were linked to Hamas has helped accelerate its realignment with Western governments since Bashir's overthrow.

Over the past year, Khartoum has won removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism (SST) list and is on course for relief of more than $50 billion in debt.

At the same time, Hamas has lost a foreign base where members and supporters could live, raise money, and channel Iranian weapons and funds to the Gaza Strip, according to Sudanese and Palestinian analysts.

(Reporting by Nidal Almughrabi, Additional reporting by Ali Sawafta in Ramallah and Nafisa Eltahir in Cairo,Editing by Helen Popper)

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