Israeli authorities seize crypto accounts linked to Hamas

A set of 30 crypto wallets from 12 exchange accounts linked to the Hamas terrorist group in the Gaza Strip was seized by Israeli authorities on Monday.

Crypto exchange al-Mutahadun held the wallets where 12 bills allegedly used by Hamas leaders to fund terrorist efforts against Israel. The times of Israel reported Israel’s Defense Ministry said on Feb. 28 that al-Mutahadun helped Hamas’ military wing “by transferring funds of up to tens of millions of dollars a year.”

The exact value of the seizures and specifically which crypto assets were seized is not yet clear, but Israeli officials believe Hamas is using “tens of millions of dollars” in crypto funds to fund its military. Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said in a Feb. 28 statement:

“We continue to expand our tools to face terrorism and the companies that supply it with the economic oxygen pipeline.”

Law enforcement agencies and banks around the world, such as BNY Mellon, are increasingly tracking crypto transactions to locate financial criminals and drop the hammer. However, blockchain transaction tracking company Chainalysis has found that only a small portion of the cryptocurrency is used for criminal activities.

Hamas has been accept crypto donations since 2019, when economic sanctions began to severely limit its ability to fight against Israel.

The seizure of purses was carried out with help from Israel’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF). The NBCTF carried out a similar seizure of Hamas crypto funds last July when it seized wallets containing Tether (USDT), Ether (ETH), Dogecoin (DOGE), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB), Zcash (ZEC), Litecoin ( LTC), and other assets.

Crypto Tracking Company cypher trace confirmed that the funds seized in July were used by al-Qassam brigades, part of the Hamas army.

Crypto-based philanthropy is by no means limited to financing terrorism. In the first two months of 2022, supporters of the Freedom Convoy in Canada and the Ukrainian resistance force against Russia collected millions in crypto donations.

Related: US Treasury Dept Lists Digital Currency as Part of Effort to Punish Russian Government

Last month, crypto exchange Binance suspended services and marketing to Israelis at the request of the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority. The suspension is likely to be in effect as long as the Authority assesses the status of Binance’s license to do business in the country.

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