Associated Press WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday designated three Middle East groups as terrorist organizations, including the al-Aqsa brigades, a Palestinian militia linked to the Fatah faction of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The other groups are Asbat al-Ansar, an Algerian group dedicated to the overthrow of the Algerian government, and the Salafist Group for Call and Combat, a Sunni Muslim group based in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
Powell announced his designations through his spokesman, Richard Boucher.
Powell disclosed last week that he was taking steps to designate al-Aqsa as a terrorist organization. He made that announcement on the same day that the group claimed responsibility for a terrorist act in a Jerusalem shopping area in which a Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and two bystanders. At least 60 were wounded.
Wednesday's designations bring to 33 the number of groups the State Department identifies as foreign terrorist organizations.
Such designations mean that it is unlawful for Americans to provide funding to these groups. Their members also are ineligible for U.S. visas.