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Hamas Fugitive Living In State-Funded London Home Among Large Jewish Population: Report

  A Hamas fugitive has allegedly been living in a state-funded home in one of Britain’s most populated Jewish areas, according to a   report...

 A Hamas fugitive has allegedly been living in a state-funded home in one of Britain’s most populated Jewish areas, according to a report by The Sunday Times.

Muhammad Qassem Sawalha reportedly resides in a nearly $400,000 Colindale council property in the London Borough of Barnet — a local authority area on the northern outskirts of the capital city of England. The two-story home with a garden and garage sits approximately 10 minutes from two synagogues in Barnet, where about 56,000 Jews live — roughly a fifth of the Jewish population in all of the U.K. — according to the Office for National Statistics.

U.K. officials designated Hamas’ military wing a terrorist organization in 2001 and later placed the group’s political wing in the same category in 2021. Home Office guidance denies citizenship to anyone who “incites, justifies, or glorifies” terrorism or “seeks to provoke others to terrorist acts.”

But despite the regulation, Sawalha, 62, reportedly obtained British citizenship in the early 2000s after escaping to the United Kingdom in the 1990s using a relative’s passport to evade Israel’s security services.

The U.S. Department of Justice reportedly said in a 2004 indictment that the alleged fugitive continued to work for Hamas after arriving in the U.K., where he held secret meetings about “revitalizing” terrorist attacks in Israel and played a role in laundering money to support activities in Gaza and other areas.

The report noted Sawalha signed a notorious declaration in 2009 that praised Allah for having “routed the Zionist Jews,” called for weapons to the Gaza Strip, and demanded a “Third Jihadist Front” be opened near Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Times noted Sawalha was pictured with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in 2010 and 2012, served the terrorist organization’s decision-making body between 2013 and 2017, and later met with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s deputy foreign minister in 2019 on official Hamas business.

In 2021, Sawalha purchased a home using Britain’s Right to Buy — a scheme that allows most council tenants to buy their homes at a discount.

Barry Rawlings, the head of the Barnet council, told the outlet that he was “horrified to think [Sawalha] could be living in our midst” and launched a review into his residency.

“We will liaise with other stakeholders including the police and the government in reviewing the full history of this case and will take all appropriate action,” Rawlings said. “This has emerged at a time when communities locally are in desperate need of reassurance following the escalating conflict in the Middle East, and we have a responsibility as the council to ensure we can give that reassurance.”

Rawlings said that U.K. Lawyers for Israel, a campaign group, first reported Sawalha to the council in 2020 after learning his background. Officials immediately reported it to the “counterterrorism unit at the Met Police,” but a spokesman said no further action was taken after “the evidential test was not met.”

Lawyers for Sawalha said in response to The Times report that it contained a “number of serious false allegations,” adding their client “is a law-abiding British citizen.”

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