Israeli defense minister authorizes seizure of Hamas-tied crypto accounts

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There are two stories going on at the moment, one in the Israeli parliament and one in the crypto space. The story in the Israeli parliament is more interesting, as the main story is that the defense minister authorized the Israeli military to seize the Israeli bank accounts of any Palestinian citizen living in the territories. Later on, a statement was issued to clarify that the main goal is to prevent Hamas from using the funds to fund terrorism.

Israel’s defense minister recently authorized the Israeli government to seize funds from Hamas-linked crypto currency accounts. This is the first time that the government has authorized such action, but it is likely to spur on other countries that are investigating suspected crypto-related accounts for terror-related funding.

Israeli defense minister authorizes seizure of Hamas-tied crypto accounts

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz has signed an order authorizing security forces to seize crypto-currency accounts allegedly linked to the militant wing of Hamas, which de facto rules the Gaza Strip in Palestine.

Ganz said a joint operation by the Defense Department’s National Counterterrorism Financing Bureau and security forces uncovered an e-wallet network believed to be linked to Hamas and its ongoing fundraising efforts using Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies.

Hamas’ longstanding efforts to raise funds through cryptocurrencies reportedly intensified after the 11-day war between Israel and the organization in May this year. In his statement, Mr. Ganz described the intelligence, technological, and legal means that enabled the authorities to intercept them as an operational breakthrough.

Details of the portfolios seized by the service show that they include Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB), Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin (LTC) and numerous other altcoins. A significant number of handbags have been linked to named individuals, but most have been described by authorities as anonymous.

Hamas has turned to cryptocurrencies because it is financially isolated, a result of being designated, in whole or in part, as a terrorist organization by several international countries and blocs – including the United States and the European Union. Russia, Turkey and China are among those who do not classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.

Related: The militant wing of Hamas reportedly uses several BTC wallet addresses to hide from authorities.

The organization, which has held sway in the Gaza Strip since 2007, is made up of Dawah’s social service and the militant wing of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigade, which is responsible for much of Hamas’ documented Bitcoin fundraising activities. Over the years, the al-Qassam Brigades have developed increasingly sophisticated strategies to prevent investigators from finding the handbags associated with their campaign.

Digital wallets allegedly linked to Hamas and the Iran-linked al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades (the military wing of the Palestinian People’s Resistance Committees) managed to collect nearly 3,370 BTC over a four-year period, according to a 2020 report by the International Institute for Counterterrorism (ICT), IDC.

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Emilia James
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