Israeli Authorities Confiscate Crypto Allegedly Linked to Hamas Terrorists
In an effort to fight financing terrorism using untraceable funds, the Israeli government has recently seized 30 crypto wallets linked to the Al’matchadun cryptocurrency exchange designed to fund terrorist activities.
According to local reports, Benny Gantz, Israel’s Defense Minister, ordered the seizure of 30 cryptocurrency wallets along with 12 accounts connected to financing terrorist activities of Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah (Hamas).
The latest confiscation operation was conducted by the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing (NBCTF) in Israel in collaboration with the IDF’s Intelligence Division and the National Cyber Unit of Lahav.
Headquartered in Gaza, Hamas is a militant organization that was established in 1987 for the Islamic Resistance Movement. The Israeli government allegedly discovered that the organization has since allied with Al’matchadun, a Shamlach family-owned cryptocurrency exchange for cryptocurrency transfers to the tune of tens of millions of dollars yearly.
Following the discovery, the Israeli NBCTF confiscated all linked funds while adding the Al’matchadun cryptocurrency exchange to its list of terrorist organizations.
Commenting on the country’s stand against crypto-linked financing of terrorism, the Defense Minister reportedly noted that his agency is “taking all the possible measures to cut off the economic oxygen supply to terror organizations.”
“We continue to expand the tools to cope with terror and the companies that support it. I commend the organizations involved for their intelligence, operational and legal cooperation. We will continue to take all the measures necessary to fight terror.”
The latest burst is the third time Israeli authorities have impounded cryptocurrency wallets connected to terrorism in the past year.
The Israeli Case Is Not the First of Its Kind
The decentralized and pseudonymous nature of cryptocurrency transactions understandably makes them an enticing option for bad actors. This has been a major barricade to its mainstream adoption.
In September 2020, authorities in France arrested 29 persons traced to a cryptocurrency scheme used in financing a network of Syrian Jihad terrorists in other countries. The group behind the terrorist network used to finance terrorists by means of traditional cash transfer of funds but switched to buying cryptocurrency coupons in 2019 as a way to hide their true identity.
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