Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has just handed Hamas another crushing blow in its efforts to avoid traditional financial routes. The defense ministry has confiscated over $800,000 in bitcoin suspected of being used to fund Hamas.
This money is believed to have been sent to Hamas via a bitcoin exchange managed by a Gazan family. This exchange is known to provide significant funds to Hamas on a yearly basis.
Hamas has been labeled as a terrorist organization by Israel. Hamas has a sophisticated money exchange network through which it can purchase goods and support its military operations.
The Israeli Defense Forces’ intelligence, the Defense Ministry’s National Headquarters on Terrorist Economic Counter-Terrorism, the Israel Police’s Lahav-443 Major Crimes Unit’s cybercrimes department, and the State Attorney’s Office’s Cyber Unit all helped to uncover the funding network.
The Gazan family was using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to raise money for Hamas online, and the Defense Minister recently authorized the seizure of their cryptocurrency wallets. Israeli officials had been watching this discussion for several years.
Hamed Ahmed Khudari, who used digital currencies to send Iranian money to Hamas in order to fund jihad, was killed by Israel Defense Forces in Gaza in 2019.
The funds were utilized to build missiles that were fired at Israel. Following the assassination, there was an uptick in activity on the exchange, arousing suspicion and necessitating more investigation.
In early 2020, the US Justice Department said it was destroying terrorism financing networks formed by Hamas’ military wing, al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant, better known as ISIS.
The armed wing of Hamas, Al-Qassam Brigades, released instructional films on how to anonymously send cryptocurrencies intended for use in violent acts.