Forces crack down on terror funding

IDF, Shin Bet after money trail in Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah and Tulkarm.

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September 20, 2006 08:38
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Security forces raided 14 offices and homes in the West Bank on Wednesday belonging to money changers suspected of transferring funds for Palestinian terrorist activity against Israel. During the operation, Israeli forces confiscated NIS 5 million as well as 17,000 dinars and various documents. Money changers were arrested after being found in possession of three pistols and a rifle. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) said most of the money changers - from Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm and Ramallah - were behind the transfer of funds from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah headquarters located in Syria and Lebanon to the groups' terrorist cells operating in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Most of the money, which came from Iran, was used to fund terrorist attacks, purchase weaponry, train terrorist cells and manufacture Kassam rockets. During the operation, soldiers and policemen raided the office of Tal Hawari, a money changer from Nablus who the Shin Bet said was suspected of transferring funds to terrorist cells operating in Samaria. All the raids were carried out following intelligence received recently from the defense establishment. During the past few weeks, the Shin Bet arrested additional money changers involved in terrorist attacks. Iman Hares Sayid, 44, from Nablus, was arrested July 17. During his interrogation, Sayid confessed to transferring tens of thousands of dollars to Tanzim and the Aksa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus, including to Fadi Katisha, who was recently killed during an IDF operation conducted to arrest him. Sayid said the money transferred to Palestinian terrorists came from Hizbullah operatives in Lebanon. A second money changer, Amin Abdallah Shahtour, 45, from Bethlehem, was arrested August 7 and admitted to transferring tens of thousands of dollars to Hamas charities that had been outlawed by Israel. "Over the past few years terror groups have been incessantly transferring large sums of money to the West Bank and to the Gaza Strip," a security official said. "Money is the fuel for the terrorist activity and enables them to build terror infrastructure and perpetrate attacks." Security officials said the money changers worked together with money changers in Arab countries and served as the conduit for the terrorist groups that could not legally transfer funds through regular banking systems. The money changers traditionally receive a commission for every transfer. Separately, on Wednesday morning, Palestinians fired two Kassam rockets into the western Negev. Shrapnel from one of the rockets hit a 15-year-old boy, wounding him moderately. A woman standing nearby suffered from shock. The second rocket landed in an open area. IDF forces responded by destroying the rocket launchers and killing a 15-year-old Palestinian who was said to have taken part in the launches. Overnight Tuesday, the IDF carried out an aerial attack in the southern Gaza Strip, targeting a building in the area of Dahaniya that was hiding the entrance to a weapons smuggling tunnel.


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