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Behind the Israel attack, Palestinian terrorists raised over $100 million in cryptocurrency


Three pro-Palestine terrorist groups — including Hamas, the organization behind the surprise attacks that killed more than 250 Israelis on Saturday — have been funding their operations with tens of millions of dollars raised through cryptocurrency.

Between August 2021 and June 2023, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jahid (PIJ), and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, have collectively received over $134 million in crypto, according to Israeli government seizure orders and blockchain analytics reports reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Hamas received some $41 million in digital currency over the nearly two-year period, The Journal reported. PIJ — whose militants from the Gaza Strip joined Hamas in storming Israel over the weekend — has received crypto funds to the tune of $93 million between August 2021 and this June, according to the outlet.

Crypto funds were seized from crypto exchange Binance in June reportedly belonging to Hezbollah, a longtime foe of Israel based in Lebanon, though it’s unclear how much digital currency the group had.

A Binance spokesperson told The Journal that the Singapore-based company “has been working in real-time, around the clock, to support ongoing efforts” to keep terrorist groups from having access to crypto.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether the funding was used to finance Hamas’ recent airstrikes and raids that have obliterated Israeli cities and left residents defenseless.

Between August 2021 and June 2023, Hamas (leader Ismail Haniya pictured) Palestinian Islamic Jahid (PIJ) and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, have collectively received over $134 million in cryptocurrency.

Between August 2021 and June 2023, Hamas (leader Ismail Haniya pictured) Palestinian Islamic Jahid (PIJ) and its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, have collectively received over $134 million in cryptocurrency.
AFP via Getty Images

Cryptocurrency allows users to bypass the traditional banking system by instantly transferring tokens to a digital wallet via decentralized blockchains -- a system that the US Treasury Department has said needs stricter guidelines.

Cryptocurrency allows users to bypass the traditional banking system by instantly transferring tokens to a digital wallet via decentralized blockchains — a system that the US Treasury Department has said needs stricter guidelines.
Getty Images

Researchers who study Hamas’ funding, however, told The Journal that crypto remains a top resource the group uses to generate funds, including bringing in cash from Gaza and Egypt.

The US has said that Hamas — which governs Gaza — is heavily subsidized by Iran, with funding from the nation’s capital, Tehran, coming in at around $100 million per year.

Hamas’ military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has asked supporters on its Telegram channel to donate bitcoin from as early as 2019, which it transferred into the organization’s accounts via Binance, according to The Journal.

Representatives from Binance did not immediately respond to The Post’s request for comment.

“The reality of jihad is the expenditure of effort and energy, and money is the backbone of war,” the group wrote in a 2019 post with a crypto wallet that received about $30,000 in bitcoin that year, The Journal reported.

Israel-Hamas war: How we got here

VIDEO:

2005: Israel unilaterally withdraws from the Gaza Strip more than three decades after winning the territory from Egypt in the Six-Day War.

2006: Terrorist group Hamas wins a Palestinian legislative election.

2007: Hamas seizes control of Gaza in a civil war.

2008: Israel launches military offensive against Gaza after Palestinian terrorists fired rockets into the town of Sderot.

2023: Hamas launches the biggest attack on Israel in 50 years, in an early-morning ambush Oct. 7, firing thousands of rockets and sending dozens of militants into Israeli towns.

Terrorists killed more than 1,200 Israelis, wounded more than 4,200, and took at least 200 hostage.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to announce, “We are at war,” and vowed Hamas would pay “a price it has never known.”

The Gaza Health Ministry — which is controlled by Hamas — reported at least 3,000 Palestinians have been killed and more than 12,500 injured since the war began.

In April, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades’ account shared a post thanking people who donated bitcoin to “support the Palestinian resistance,” but said the group would no longer be taking financial gifts in the form of digital currency, citing “concern for the safety of donors.”

Hamas reportedly received some $41 million in digital currency between August 2021 and June 2023.

Hamas (members pictured) reportedly received some $41 million in digital currency between August 2021 and June 2023, though it wasn’t immediately clear if the funds were used to finance recent airstrike and raids in Israel.
Getty Images

Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, governs the 25 mile-long Gaza strip.

Hamas, also known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, governs the 25-mile-long Gaza Strip.
AP

The group also cited a “doubling of hostile efforts against everyone who tries to support the resistance through this currency.”

According to The Journal, Hamas has received donations through payment processors that generate addresses in an effort to conceal its true crypto wallet. Links to those processors are reportedly embedded in the al-Qassam Brigades’ fundraising websites.


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Cryptocurrency allows users to bypass the traditional banking system by instantly transferring tokens to a digital wallet via decentralized blockchains, meaning there’s no single person or group that has control over the transaction.

The US Treasury Department has said that there are gaps in financial crime controls at crypto exchanges that allow terrorist groups including Hamas, Islamic State, and al Qaeda to misuse them, according to The Journal.

Hezbollah (members pictured), PIJ's Lebanese ally, had crypto funds seized from its accounts on Binance in June.

Hezbollah (members pictured), PIJ’s Lebanese ally, had crypto funds seized from its accounts on Binance in June.
AFP via Getty Images

After the Israeli government led an operation to seize crypto belonging to Hezbollah earlier this year, Israeli Defense Minster Yoav Gallant said the use of digital currencies was making the job of eliminating terrorist organizations much more difficult, the organization reported.

“This is not an easy task,” Gallant said of prohibiting these groups from crypto exchanges.

The Israeli government also said this week that it’s working to freeze Hamas’ crypto accounts that they use for donations solicited on social networks in an effort to locate the “financial infrastructure in cryptocurrencies used by terror entities to fund their activities,” per The Journal.

The Post has sought comment from the US Treasury Department.

Sources


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