December 28, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Seizes Hamas Funds in Raid on West Bank Money Exchanges

December 28, 2023 | Flash Brief

Israel Seizes Hamas Funds in Raid on West Bank Money Exchanges

Latest Developments

Israeli forces on December 28 seized tens of millions of shekels in the West Bank intended for the Iran-backed terrorist group Hamas. The joint operation by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the Shin Bet, and the Israeli police took place during overnight raids on nine West Bank foreign exchange and money transfer agencies. Israeli forces also arrested 21 individuals from Ramallah, Jenin, Hebron, Tulkarem, Atil, and El Bireh suspected of transferring funds to Hamas. According to the IDF, the forces seized safes, documents, recording systems, and telephones. Israel’s cybercrime unit took part in the operation, targeting cryptocurrencies.

Clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinians erupted during the raids, leading to one Palestinian death and 20 Palestinians injured. Israel said the Palestinians threw explosives, petrol bombs, and rocks at its forces. During the operation, Israeli Air Force aircraft struck a terrorist cell that fired on Israeli troops in Jenin.

Expert Analysis

“A number of money exchanges in the West Bank have partnerships with money houses in the United States and Europe. If the Israeli authorities have found derogatory information, they should share that information immediately. This is the window to freeze Hamas finance before asset flight takes place.” Jonathan Schanzer, FDD Senior Vice President for Research

“There are various ways to address terrorism. While apprehending or eliminating terrorists is an effective approach, an equally impactful method is undermining their financial support. By seizing funds and imposing sanctions on financial networks, a terrorist group’s capacity to pay its members, purchase weapons, and carry out attacks can be severely hampered.” Joe Truzman, Research Analyst at FDD’s Long War Journal

Israel Eliminates Hamas Financier

The IDF said on December 19 that it eliminated a top Hamas financier in the Gaza Strip. The IDF accused Subhi Ferwana of using a company to funnel millions of dollars to Hamas. The terrorist group used the funds to support its military capabilities, pay salaries to terrorists, and finance other war-related activities.

Separately, the IDF located over 5,000,000 shekels ($1.4 million) worth of funds intended for terrorist activities inside a senior Hamas terrorist’s residence during a raid on December 18.

Hamas Uses Cryptocurrencies

While Hamas receives $120 million annually from Qatar and an estimated $100 million annually from Iran, the Congressional Research Service reported that the group has also sought cryptocurrency donations since at least 2019. The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas appears to have raised as much as $41 million in cryptocurrency between 2021 and 2023. Over the same period, Gaza’s smaller terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad — which also participated in the October 7 massacre in Israel — similarly raised as much as $93 million. On October 10, Israel’s Police Cyber Unit and Ministry of Defense announced that it had worked with cryptocurrency exchange Binance to freeze cryptocurrency wallets associated with Hamas. Israel has successfully frozen hundreds of cryptocurrency accounts linked to terrorist organizations, including the Islamic State, since 2021.

Since Israel’s war against Hamas began, the United States has imposed four rounds of sanctions against Hamas financiers and financial networks, including on October 18, October 27, November 14, and December 13.

Israel Battles Hamas Battalion in Gaza City,” FDD Flash Brief

Israeli Authorities Foil Weapons Shipment from Turkey to West Bank,” FDD Flash Brief

IDF Eliminates Hamas Financier,” FDD Flash Brief

Hamas’ Cryptocurrency Use Draws Attention to Terror Finance Enforcement Gaps,” by Michael Sugden and Elaine K. Dezenski


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