Crypto Crackdown: US, UK Zero In On Hamas Funds In Gaza

Crypto Crackdown: US, UK Zero In On Hamas Funds In Gaza

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In a synchronized move aimed at disrupting the financial infrastructure backing Hamas, the United States and the United Kingdom have taken decisive action by imposing sanctions on Gaza Now, an internet-based media platform allegedly involved in financing the militant group.

The focal point of these sanctions is directed towards Mustafa Ayash, the mastermind behind Gaza Now, alongside various individuals and entities connected to the organization’s fundraising endeavors.

The decision to implement these measures stemmed from an extensive inquiry into Gaza Now’s fundraising initiatives subsequent to the occurrence of an assault in Israel on October 7th.

Cryptocurrency In Terrorism Financing

Does the media & fundraising site ‘Gaza Now’ ring a bell?

It’s being pushed by numerous celebrities and world leaders.

Well guess what? The U.S. Department of Treasury just sanctioned it for providing material support to Hamas!

— StopAntisemitism (@StopAntisemites) March 27, 2024

To address the challenges posed by the limited use of cryptocurrencies in terrorist financing, there is a growing recognition for a reevaluation of strategies and tools in combatting terrorism financing.

Authorities and regulatory bodies must enhance monitoring capabilities and establish more effective regulatory mechanisms within the digital currency space.

The preference for specific cryptocurrencies, such as Tether on the TRON blockchain, is driven by attributes like low transaction fees and perceived anonymity, highlighting the complexities faced in countering terrorism financing in the digital age.

The sanctions imposed by the US and UK form part of a wider international approach to counter the financing of terrorism. Both countries’ Treasury Departments emphasize the importance of global collaboration in addressing these issues.

In addition to the sanctions, the UK has implemented a comprehensive asset freeze on individuals and entities associated with Gaza Now to reinforce the principle that the financial system should not be exploited for terrorist activities.

Bitcoin is now trading at $70.577. Chart: TradingView

The sanctions imposed on Gaza Now and its affiliates demonstrate a firm stance against entities involved in financing terrorism. The US and UK aim to disrupt the financial networks supporting Hamas through these measures, thereby weakening their operations and capabilities. The sanctions serve as a clear message that any attempt to exploit the financial system for illicit activities will face severe consequences.

In countering terrorism financing in the digital age, specific challenges arise, including the anonymity of cryptocurrencies, the lack of regulatory frameworks, the proliferation of cryptocurrency exchanges, the use of privacy-focused cryptocurrencies, sophisticated money laundering techniques, and the need for collaboration and information sharing.

Gaza Groups Raise Over $130 Million In Crypto Since 2021

Since at least 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) have made an effort to raise money through cryptocurrencies in an effort to obtain funds outside of the most popular means of financial transfers. Restrictions on access to the international banking system result from the groups’ designation as terrorist organizations in Israel, the US, and other Western countries.

According to estimates, since 2021, terrorist organizations in Gaza have raised over $130 million in cryptocurrencies, with $41 million coming from Hamas and $93 million from Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has disclosed that Iran provides the lion’s share of international money to the terror groups operating in Gaza. The country has financed the PIJ with tens of millions of dollars annually and Hamas with about $100 million each year.

Featured image from , chart from TradingView

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