Five extremist groups will be removed from Joe Biden’s administration’s foreign terrorist blacklist. According to a copy of the document independently obtained by Fox News Digital.
Each of the groups is now considered defunct including several that formerly represented substantial risks, killing hundreds if not thousands of people across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, and Secretary of State Tony Blinken notified Congress of the removals on Friday.
The organizations are the Basque separatist group ETA, the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, the radical Jewish group Kahane Kach and two Islamic groups that have been active in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and Egypt.
Here is the list of the groups to be removed:
- The Japanese “Supreme Truth” cult Aum Shinrikyo (AUM) was responsible for the deadly sarin gas assault on the Tokyo subway in 1995, which killed 13 people and affected hundreds more. Since the killings of the organisation’s upper echelons, including leader Shoko Asahara, in 2018, the group has been mostly deemed defunct. In 1997, it was categorized as a foreign terrorist organization.
- ETA, or Basque Fatherland and Liberty, was a separatist group that carried out decades of bombings and assassinations in northern Spain and elsewhere, killing over 800 people and injuring thousands more, until declaring a cease-fire in 2010 and disbanding after the arrests and trials of its last leaders in 2018. In 1997, it was categorized as a foreign terrorist organization.
- Kach, or Kahane Chai. In 1971, ultranationalist Israeli Rabbi Meir Kahane created the hardline Orthodox Jewish organization. He was the group’s leader until he was assassinated in 1990. Members of the organization have killed, assaulted, threatened, or harassed Arabs, Palestinians, and Israeli government officials, however the group has been dormant since 2005. In 1997, the group was originally designated.
- Since its inception in 2012, the Mujahidin Shura Council in the Environs of Jerusalem, an umbrella organization of many jihadist factions located in Gaza, has claimed responsibility for numerous rocket and other assaults on Israel. In 2014, the council was established for the first time.
- Gama’a al-Islamiyya (IG) was an Egyptian Sunni Islamist movement that fought to overthrow Egypt’s government in the 1990s. Hundreds of lethal attacks were carried out on police and security forces, as well as tourists. In 1997, the group was originally designated.
Although the groups are inactive, the decision is politically sensitive for the Biden administration and the countries in which the organizations operated, and could draw criticism from victims and their families still dealing with the losses of loved ones.
Fox News has more details of this story:
The removal comes as the Biden administration faces criticism for considering the removal of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the blacklist as part of nuclear deal negotiations.
“The Biden administration dragged out briefings about this for months, then went radio silent, then quietly rushed it through hoping no one would notice until it was a done deal,” a senior Republican congressional aide familiar with the notification told Fox Digital of Friday’s move. “Republicans on the Hill believe this was a dress rehearsal for trying to remove terrorism sanctions on the IRGC.”
Returning to President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal has been a top foreign policy priority for the Biden administration. There has been little progress on the issue, however, and reports suggested the administration may be considering removing the IRGC from the list.The IRGC is directly responsible for the killings of roughly 600 U.S. military members and remains an active terror group, according to a group of 46 retired U.S. generals who publicly urged the Biden administration not to remove the group from the blacklist in April.