Israel seizes crypto wallets linked to funding the Hamas group

Israel seizes crypto wallets linked to funding the Hamas group

The Israeli Defense Ministry has reported the seizure of some digital wallets carrying cryptocurrency that was allegedly used to pay the Hamas group. The wallets belonged to the Shamlach family, which was declared a terror organization by the Defense Minister,
Israel seizes crypto wallets linked to funding the Hamas group

According to a news release by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorism Financing, Defense Minister Benny Gantz approved a seizure order for 30 wallets containing tens of thousands of shekels linked to 12 digital accounts (NBCTF).

According to the press release, the wallets belonged to companies that “assisted the Al’matchadun currency exchange company belonging to the Shamlach family, which was declared a terror organization by the Defense Minister,” with some of the seized cryptocurrency owned directly by the Shamlach family.

The Shamlach family has been on Israel’s radar for some years, with the NBCTF noting that it “assists the Hamas terror organization, notably its military wing, by sending monies in the scope of dozens of million dollars annually” through the currency exchange companies it owns.

Gantz signed an order in May 2021 designating Zuhir Yunes Shamalch’s currency exchange enterprises “Al-Markaziya li-siarafa” and “Arab Trading Company China” as terrorist organizations, accusing them of assisting the annual flow of tens of millions of dollars to Hamas’ armed wing.

“We will continue to target the Iran-Hamas axis, disrupting the finance routes that support the terrorist organizations‘ military wings,” Gantz said at the time.

Hamas and cryptocurrency/Bitcoin donation

In an effort to avoid international sanctions, the Palestinian terror organisation Hamas has experienced an increase in bitcoin donations.

A Hamas spokesman claimed in June 2021 that the organisation had seen a “surge” in Bitcoin donations, adding that “some of the money gets used for military objectives to preserve the basic rights of the Palestinians.”

Israel has retaliated by seizing cryptocurrency wallets related to Hamas; in July 2021, the Israeli Ministry of Defense discovered and seized accounts totaling $7.7 million in Bitcoin (BTC), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Tether (USDT).

Hamas hasn’t simply been asking for cryptocurrency donations; early this year, an Indian police probe discovered links between a crypto wallet hack and the terrorist outfit.

Over half a million dollars in Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash were stolen from a Delhi businessman’s wallet before being funneled to Hamas’ military arm, the al-Qassam Brigades.