Israel busted a money smuggling operation between the Gaza Strip and Yehudah and Shomron that brought large sums of money into the terrorist group’s coffers, the IDF said Wednesday.
The IDF said that three Hamas operatives were arrested in the joint IDF-Shin Bet raid Tuesday night.
The operation exposed a money transfer network from the Gaza Strip to Ramallah, which operated in coordination between senior Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and their Hamas operatives in Yehudah and Shomron. The network was operated by a civilian traveling and passport issuing agency named Al-Haramain, owned by the Hani brothers and Firas Blbiesi, along with a money changer named Mohammad Swesi, who all operate from the Gaza Strip.
To sidestep Israel’s financial sanctions, the money was transferred using the “Hawwalah” method, a money transfer system implemented by offsetting debts between a number of independent money changers, while using a minimal amount of cash, and hence not requiring registration in the world banking systems. The large amounts of money transferred through this method were used for organizational terror activity and for funding the salaries of Hamas operatives.
The IDF said that the network was run by senior Hamas officials, but operated on the ground by a civilian.
The statement did not disclose the amount of money transferred through the network, but said that “large amounts” were being used to fund terrorist activities and pay salaries of Hamas operatives.
An officer in the Intelligence Directorate, Lt. Col. A.: “The methods used by Hamas for money transfer are familiar to us and we are operating to thwart and disrupt them in cooperation with the ISA. The IDF will continue to operate in order to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians using all the measures available to us.”
As part of the operation, three suspects who are operatives of this Hamas-run infrastructure were apprehended: Ibrahim Mzfr-A Mazari’ – Al-Nubani resident, a Hamas operative and a former prisoner; Khaled Mzfr A Mazari’ (Ibrahim’s brother) – Al-Nubani resident, a Hamas operative; and Mohammad Abu Salim- A Rantis resident, a Hamas operative and a former prisoner.