Switzerland to ban Hamas after Israel attacks

FILE PHOTO: Hamas armed wing holds military parade in Gaza

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's government said on Wednesday it wants to ban Hamas after the Palestinian militant group's attacks in Israel last year which killed nearly 1,200 people and sparked a war in Gaza.

Bern said it was taking action after the attacks on October 7 which killed two Swiss nationals and resulted in nearly 250 people being taken hostage.

In response, Israel launched a military assault on Gaza that local health authorities say has killed nearly 29,000 Palestinians with thousands more feared lost amid the ruins.

The Swiss government said under the new legislation Hamas and "cover or successor organisations" as well as organisations or groups that act on its behalf or in its name will be banned.

The ban aims to punish Hamas for the October attacks as well as prevent the group using Switzerland as a safe haven or carrying out attacks in the country for example by making entry bans or expulsions easier to arrange.

It will also help combat terrorist financing by allowing the Swiss anti-money laundering authorities to better exchange information with counterparts abroad, the government said.

The law, which has entered a consultation phase, will be limited to five years, the government said.

(Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Dave Graham)