The Israeli authorities has seized 30 cryptocurrency wallets from a small exchange in Gaza, where Hamas terrorists have beefed up their military.
Israeli officials seized 30 crypto wallets from 12 exchange accounts related to Hamas, a terrorist organisation located in the Gaza Strip, on Monday.
Exchange of cryptocurrencies Al-Mutahadun was in possession of the wallets containing 12 accounts purportedly used by Hamas leaders to fund terrorist attacks against Israel. According to the Times of Israel, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced on Feb. 28 that al-Mutahadun had aided Hamas’ military branch “by transmitting finances worth tens of millions of dollars every year.”
Although the exact sum of the seizures and the crypto assets confiscated are unknown, Israeli officials think Hamas uses “tens of millions of dollars” in cryptocurrency to pay its military. In a statement released on February 28, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said:
“We continue to improve our capabilities to combat terrorism and the businesses who provide it with economic oxygen.”
Law enforcement organisations and institutions around the world, such as BNY Mellon, are increasingly tracking cryptocurrency transactions in order to identify and prosecute financial crimes. However, according to Chainalysis, a blockchain transaction tracking service, just a small percentage of crypto money are utilised in illegal behaviour.
Since 2019, when economic sanctions began seriously limiting Hamas’ ability to combat Israel, it has accepted cryptocurrency donations.
The wallets were seized with the assistance of Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorism Financing (NBCTF). Last July, the NBCTF carried out a similar seizure of Hamas crypto monies, seizing wallets containing Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB), Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin (LTC), and other assets.
The monies confiscated in July were utilised by al Qassam Brigades, a Hamas military unit, according to crypto tracking firm Cyphertrace.
The use of cryptocurrency for philanthropy isn’t restricted to sponsoring terrorism. Supporters of the Freedom Convoy in Canada and Ukraine’s anti-Russian opposition group received millions of dollars in crypto donations in the first two months of 2022.
Following a request from the Capital Markets, Insurance, and Savings Authority, cryptocurrency exchange Binance ceased services and marketing to Israelis last month. The ban is likely to last as long as the Authority investigates the status of Binance’s business licence in the country.
Disclaimer: These are the writer’s opinions and should not be considered investment advice. Readers should do their own research.