Tel Aviv: Israel has said it will start using money accounts used by the Palestinian Hamas group to raise money for its armed wing.
Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday ordered security forces to seize the accounts following a joint operation, the ministry said, “exposing” a web of electronic wallets used by Hamas to raise funds with using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
It added that Hamas was conducting an online campaign to procure donations for its military extension, efforts that stimulated after the 11-day conflict in Gaza in May this year.
Digital currencies like Bitcoin are favoured for illegal transactions because they are challenging to detect.
“The intelligence, technological and legal instruments that allow us to take hold of terrorists’ money around the world are an operational breakthrough,” Gantz said.
Hamas was democratically elected in 2006 and a year later took control of the Gaza Strip from opposing Palestinian party Fatah following the latter attempted to stage a preventive coup.
Since then, Israel has carried out four major offensive attacks on the besieged enclave, massacring thousands of civilians. The latest one took place in May, killing 260 Palestinians, including at least 66 children. On the Israeli view, 13 people were killed, among those were two children.
A tenuous ceasefire, negotiated by Egypt, has been violated several times in the past month, with Israeli fighter jets aiming at various areas belonging to Hamas’ military sites.
US seizes hundreds of crypto accounts
In the year 2020, the US Department of Justice said it had seized millions of dollars from cryptocurrency accounts on which armed groups, including Al-Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS), rely to fund their organizations and violent plans.
The department said about $ 2 million had been seized, in supplement to more than 300 digital currency accounts, four websites and four Facebook pages linked to the plans.
One of the US inquiries was aimed at the military wing of Hamas. Law enforcement police confiscated more than 150 cryptocurrency accounts that they said had laundered money from and to accounts operated by the group.