The European Union imposed sanctions on Tuesday on Yahya Sinwar, the political leader of Hamas in Gaza, over the Palestinian militant group's deadly attack on Israel last October.
The decision by the European Council, which considers Hamas a terrorist organisation, makes Sinwar subject to an asset freeze in the 27-nation bloc and bars EU citizens from conducting financial transactions with him.
"The Council decided today to add one individual to the EU terrorist list," the EU executive said in a statement.
"This decision comes as part of the European Union's response to the threat posed by Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Israel on 7 October 2023."
Hamas gunmen who entered Israel from the Gaza Strip killed about 1,200 people and took about 240 hostage in the Oct. 7 attack, triggering an Israeli offensive to eliminate Hamas and secure the hostages' release that is now in its fourth month.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz welcomed what he said was a "just and moral decision" by the EU.
"This decision is also a result of our diplomatic efforts to strangle the resources of the Hamas, to delegitimize them and prohibit all support to them," Katz wrote on social media platform X. "We will continue to eradicate the root of evil, in Gaza and wherever it raises its head."
Taher Al-Nono, media advisor to Qatar-based Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, accused the EU of bias and called for an end to what he said was its "double-standard policy".
"These are ridiculous and silly sanctions, because everyone knows that Yahya Al-Sinwar has no assents or money, neither in Palestine nor outside it," he told Reuters.
"Such a decision has no value against Hamas, but the idea of imposing sanctions on the leaders of resistance and Hamas, which is resisting the (Israeli) occupation, as granted by international law, shows bias to the occupation."