Israeli enforcement agencies have confiscated nearly 30 cryptocurrency wallets from 12 accounts, allegedly used to fund Hamas which has since been declared a terror group. As per local sources, Defense Minister Benny Gantz had approved the seizure owned by a crypto exchange based in the Gaza Strip.
According to the ministry, the trading platform which goes by the name Mutahadun is run by the Shamlah family who the former accused of assisting the Hamas terror group, and especially its military wing, by transferring funds amounting to tens of millions of dollars a year.
On previous occasions, funds linked to the Shamlah family have been targeted several times by Israeli authorities. The seized cryptocurrencies are believed to be worth several thousand shekels and were successfully captured in a joint effort led by the Defense Ministry, police, and military.
Further, Gantz in a statement reiterated,
“We continue to expand our tools to deal with terrorism, and with companies that supply it with an economic oxygen pipeline. I would like to congratulate all the organizations on their intelligence, operational and legal cooperation. We will continue to work together, in order to fight terror by any means and in any way.”
Earlier in 2019, Hamas had appealed for crypto donations from supporters to help tide over its financial crisis. Following this, it launched an experimental program using a complex cryptocurrency system to raise money. The group’s financial trouble has escalated in recent times as banks have distanced themselves from any dealings with the organization.
Israeli agencies remain extra vigilant amidst global crackdown
Recently, Israel’s National Bureau recovered an undisclosed amount in a counter-terror financing case linked to terrorism financing. Other similar cases around the world include a $56 million seizure by the US Department of Justice [DOJ] in a cryptocurrency scam investigation and the capture of another $2.3 million from the ransomware group behind the Colonial Pipeline attack.
The DOJ announced on Thursday, Feb. 17, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] is building a new specialized team dedicated to tackling increased crimes related to crypto. One of the major takeaways has been announcing an international virtual currency initiative that will be established to facilitate joint global law enforcement collaboration.