IDF, Shin Bet foil Hamas money laundering ring

The IDF has confiscated half a million shekels in terror funds since the beginning of the year

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July 18, 2019 13:35
2 minute read.
IDF troops take part in operation, July 2019.

IDF troops take part in operation, July 2019.. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The IDF and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) foiled a Hamas money-laundering network in the West Bank on Tuesday, in which a money transfer scheme operated from the Gaza Strip to Ramallah coordinated between senior Hamas officials in Gaza and their Hamas operatives in the West Bank.
 
“The network that we have now exposed operated under the guise of a civilian organization in an attempt to conceal the money’s origin and destination,” the military said in a statement.
 
The network was operated by a civilian travel and passport-issuing agency named “Al-Haramain,” according to the statement. The agency is owned by the Hani brothers and Firas Blbiesi, along with a money exchanger named Mohammad Swesi, all of whom operated from the Gaza Strip.
 
As part of the operation, IDF troops and Shin Bet officers arrested three suspected operatives of the Hamas-run cell in the West Bank: Ibrahim Mzfr-A Mazari and his brother Khaled from the village of Al-Nubani near Ariel, and Mohammad Abu Salim from Rantis.
Mazari and Abu Salim were both formerly incarcerated in Israeli prisons.



Mazari and Abu Salim were both formerly incarcerated in Israeli prisons.
The money was transferred using the “Hawwalah” method, a money transfer system implemented by offsetting debts between several independent money exchangers. The system uses a minimal amount of cash, avoiding the need to register with international banking systems.

“The large amounts of money transferred through this method were used for organizational terror activity and for funding the salaries of Hamas operatives,” the IDF said. “Following the money transfer from the Gaza Strip into the West Bank, IDF and Shin Bet have strengthened enforcement measures against civilian companies cooperating with terror organizations in the area and in the Gaza Strip.”

Intelligence Directorate officer “Lt.-Col. A” said “the methods used by Hamas for money transfer are familiar to us, and we are operating to thwart and disrupt them in cooperation with the ISA [Israel Securities Authority]. The IDF will continue to operate in order to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians using all measures available to us.”

Israeli security forces, including the IDF, police and the Shin Bet, carry out near nightly raids in the West Bank in an attempt to arrest Palestinians suspected of violence against Israelis, confiscating funds believed linked to terrorism.

The IDF has confiscated half a million shekels in terrorist funding since the beginning of the year. It seized two million shekels in 2018.


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