Israel Bans UK-Based Muslim Charity Accused Of Funding Hamas

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -

Israel on Thursday banned a British-based charity from operating in Yehudah and Shomron, accusing Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW) of being a source of funding for Hamas.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon signed an order declaring the IRW an “unauthorized association” and empowering Israeli authorities to seize any funds the group might send to Palestinians in the region.

No comment was immediately available from the IRW in Britain. Officials in an affiliate office, International Relief in Palestine, in the Gaza Strip said they had no information about the Israeli decision.

Founded in 1984, IRW says on its website that it operates in more than 30 countries, promoting economic and social development. It lists the European Commission, the World Health Organization and UNHCR — the U.N. Refugee Agency — among its “key partners.”

In a statement, Yaalon said some of the charity’s chapters, including those in Yehudah and Shomron and Gaza Strip, were run by Hamas members.

“The IRW is one of the sources of Hamas’s funding and a means for raising funds from various countries in the world,” the statement said. “We do not intend to allow it to function and abet terrorist activity against Israel.”