Israel Freezes Cryptocurrency Accounts Linked to Hamas Fundraising
Israel has taken action to freeze cryptocurrency accounts used by the Palestinian militant group Hamas to solicit donations on social media, according to police statements on Tuesday. The move comes in response to the recent escalation of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, which saw Hamas launch devastating attacks on Israel from Gaza over the weekend.
The Israeli police Cyber Unit, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense, located and froze the accounts with the assistance of the Binance cryptocurrency exchange. The intention is to redirect the funds to the state treasury. The police statement did not provide specific details regarding the number of accounts frozen or the value of the seized cryptocurrency.
Hamas has a history of endorsing cryptocurrency as a fundraising method. However, in April, the group announced that it would stop receiving donations in bitcoin, citing increased “hostile” activity against donors. This recent freezing of cryptocurrency accounts suggests that Hamas may have resumed its fundraising efforts using digital currencies.
Reuters attempted to reach out to Hamas spokespersons for comment but was unable to do so at the time of reporting. Meanwhile, Binance, the crypto exchange involved in assisting law enforcement, stated that it actively partners with global law enforcement agencies and regulators to combat illicit activities. The exchange relies on intelligence provided by law enforcement and investigative tools to identify individuals, addresses, and infrastructures associated with specific organizations.
This is not the first time that Israel has taken action against cryptocurrency accounts linked to terrorism. In May, Reuters reported that Israel had seized approximately 190 crypto accounts at Binance since 2021. Among those accounts were two linked to the Islamic State and dozens owned by Palestinian firms connected to Hamas.
In response to the Reuters article in May, Binance emphasized its commitment to working with law enforcement and leveraging exclusive information available to them to identify individuals operating accounts for illicit organizations.
The freezing of these cryptocurrency accounts highlights the ongoing efforts of Israel and international law enforcement agencies to combat terror financing. By targeting the financial networks of organizations like Hamas, authorities aim to disrupt their operations and prevent further violence.
As the situation in the region remains tense, the freezing of these accounts serves as a reminder of the complex dynamics and challenges involved in the Israel-Palestinian conflict. The use of cryptocurrencies for illicit purposes poses a unique challenge for law enforcement agencies, who must adapt and develop innovative strategies to counter these emerging threats.
Reporting by Henriette Chacar in Jerusalem, additional reporting by Tom Wilson in London and Nidal al-Mughrabi in Gaza, writing by Elizabeth Howcroft, editing by Nick Macfie.
More detail via Daily Mail Online here… ( Image via Daily Mail Online )