• Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Austrian Authorities Arrest Director of Hamas-Linked “Gaza Now” News Agency

Mar 28, 2024
Austrian Authorities Arrest Director of Hamas-Linked "Gaza Now" News Agency

Gaza Now Denies Any Hamas Affiliation

Austrian authorities have apprehended Mustafa Ayyash, the director of the controversial “Gaza Now” news agency, along with his wife, over anti-terrorism activities. According to reports, Austrian police executed a raid on the couple’s residence, seizing mobile phones, electronic devices, and other belongings.

Social media accounts and pages associated with Gaza Now on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were reportedly shut down. In response to the allegations, Gaza Now issued an official statement denying any links to terrorism, asserting its status as an independent Palestinian media outlet.

The agency further reiterated that it has no affiliation with any domestic or international political party. The incident has prompted calls for further investigation and clarity on the nature of Gaza Now’s operations.

Sanctions On Individuals Linked To Hamas-Supporting Media Network

Meanwhile, the UK Government has announced the imposition of complete asset freezes on two individuals (Aozma Sultana and Mustafa Ayash). The UK authorities alleged that both individuals provide financial backing to Gaza Now, a media agency known for its promotion of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist groups.

This development marks the second application of the Treasury-led regime targeting individuals involved in terrorist activities. Effective immediately, all funds and economic resources in the UK belonging to or controlled by Sultana and Ayash have been frozen.

Such companies and organizations controlled by Sultana and Ayash include Aakhirah Limited, Gaza Now, and Al-Qureshi Executives. Furthermore, UK citizens are prohibited from providing funds, economic resources, or financial services to the sanctioned individuals or entities under their control.

Treasury Minister Baroness Vere re-affirmed the government’s readiness to take decisive action against those exploiting the integrity of Britain’s financial system to threaten national security and the broader economy. The minister highlighted the coordinated international effort between the UK and the United States to deploy effective sanctions to prevent terrorist financing, safeguard the financial system’s integrity, and preserve the openness of the economy.

Impact Of Sanctions

The latest sanctions build upon previous measures imposed on individuals and entities affiliated with Hamas and PIJ under the UK’s International Counter-Terrorism regulation. Recall that the UK regulators sanctioned five people and one entity in January 2024 over their roles in financing Hamas and PIJ.

There were also similar sanctions on leaders and financiers of Hamas and PIJ in November and December. The UK continues to collaborate closely with other top economies to identify and disrupt the financial flows sustaining Hamas and PIJ’s operations. By targeting financial supporters and enablers, the government is confident it can mitigate the threat posed by terrorist organizations.