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U.S. funding of Palestinian schools eyed

WASHINGTON, March 5 (UPI) -- Despite a congressional ban on aiding terror groups, a U.S. agency has given funding to two Palestinian universities, one of which is controlled by Hamas.

The U.S. Agency for International Development gave $2.3 million in aid last year to Al-Quds University, which Hamas controls, the Washington Times reported Monday.

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The other school that used to receive funding was Islamic University, which did not receive USAID funding last year, the report said.

Rep. Gary Ackerman, D-N.Y., and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, told the Times the legislation and the agency need to be examined for loopholes.

"It is outrageous that U.S. taxpayer dollars are going toward institutions that support terrorists," Ackerman said. "These loopholes must be closed so that taxpayer funds are used for their intended purpose and not to subsidize terrorism and the promotion of hatred toward Israel and the United States."

A USAID official who did not want to be identified told the Times it was known student groups affiliated with terrorist organizations were on campuses of schools receiving assistance, but said they are not part of "the official administrative structure."

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