ASIO Director-General of Security Mike Burgess. (Sitthixay Ditthavong)

Hamas should be considered a terror group, says ASIO director-general Mike Burgess

In a security hearing on Friday, Mike Burgess, Director-General of Security in charge of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, said defining the entirety of Hamas as a terrorist organisation would be valid due to the organisation’s history of supporting militant attacks on Israel and its promotion of violence.

Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni-Islamic militant and political organisation operating in Gaza.

The group has already been labelled a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States.

A current Australian parliamentary inquiry is seeking to determine if the group should be listed as a terrorist group by domestic authorities.

“I would support it,” Mr Burgess said when questioned on the issue. “There’s no doubt the group as a whole does advocate for acts of violence.

“The brigades are a highly capable terrorist organisation who are committed to the use of terrorist tactics targeting Israel. As a consequence they remain a security concern to ASIO and we support the listing.”

Labor MP Anne Aly questioned Mr Burgess on the practical implications listing Hamas as a terror group would have on pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Australia, potentially those supporting Hamas.

Read the article by Gerard Cockburn in The Canberra Times.