Israel Seizes NIS 2.6M in Cryptocurrency From Hamas

YERUSHALAYIM -
(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has signed an order for the seizure of NIS 2.6 million ($836,168) in cryptocurrency from a currency exchange firm with ties to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip, Yisrael Hayom reported.

According to defense officials, the seizure was one of the largest in recent years and dealt a significant blow to the currency exchange.

The move follows a similar order issued by Gantz for the seizure of crypto wallets belonging to the Gazan family that runs the currency exchange just months ago. According to the Defense Ministry, the exchange ramped up its activity in May 2019, after the IDF assassinated Hamed Ahmed Khudari, a Gazan terrorist responsible for transferring Iranian funds to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

The terror-financing network was exposed in a joint operation involving IDF Intelligence, the National Headquarters on Terrorist Economic Counter-Terrorism at the Defense Ministry, the cybercrimes department of the Israel Police’s Lahav 443 Major Crimes Unit, and the State Attorney’s Office’s Cyber Unit.

Hamas operates a network of currency exchanges that engage in the import of good as well as funds to the coastal enclave to finance its military operations. The currency exchange targeted with the order is known to transfer millions of dollars to the terrorist group each year and as such has been designated a terrorist organization by the State of Israel.

After signing the order, Gantz said, “We will continue to pursue terrorist funds. The blow to Hamas and the terrorist organization’s ability to circumvent the traditional paths for transferring funds, through digital currency, is an important tool in the developing security system. I congratulate all those involved, led by the National Headquarters on Terrorist Economic Counter-Terrorism, on the important work and the creative action.”