By: Jason Cohen, Daily Caller News Foundation
Terrorist groups may have used cryptocurrency to fund Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Saturday, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah obtained significant sums of cryptocurrency in the year preceding the attacks, according to an examination of Israeli government confiscation orders and blockchain analytics reports, the WSJ reported. While it was not possible to find out if the cryptocurrency these terrorist groups obtained directly funded Hamas’ attack, the currency is one of the group’s fundraising tools, researchers asserted.
Israeli officials associated digital currency wallets with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad that acquired roughly $94 million in cryptocurrency from August 2021 to June 2023, top cryptocurrency analysis provider Elliptic found. Hamas-linked wallets got over $40 million more than Palestinian Islamic Jihad during a comparable time frame, according to Tel Aviv-based BitOK, the WSJ reported.
Israeli police announced they froze more Hamas-linked cryptocurrency fundraising accounts on Tuesday, according to the WSJ.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad members joined forces with Hamas in a violent incursion into Israel from the Gaza Strip, murdering around 900 civilians and kidnapping more than 100 individuals, according to the WSJ. Hamas also launched thousands of rockets that hit four Israeli cities, according to The Associated Press.
Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah are all facing sanctions from the United States Treasury Department, restricting their ability to use the global banking system, according to the WSJ. Cryptocurrency provides these groups a way to get around these sanctions.
“Along with the constant and uncompromising battle against terrorism-terrorists and those dispatching them, a new battlefront has been added: Combating the resources behind terrorism, and simply stated: Combating terror funds,” Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in June after concluding an operation to seize crypto from Hezbollah. “This is not an easy task, which becomes even more complex when digital currencies are involved.”
Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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