IMPA’s Fight Against Terror Financing
Two weeks after Hamas infiltrated Israeli territory, the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority (IMPA) said it received intelligence information from several European nations that a popular organization was raising funds for the terrorists through social media platforms while claiming that the money was meant to help Gazans.
The IMPA was informed about the organization’s name and the payment methods it used for fundraising. The Israeli authority then requested the undisclosed European countries to block the organization’s fundraising channels by freezing its financial transactions.
More Countries Block Terror Financing Channels
After announcing the blocking of the organization’s funding pipelines, IMPA says more countries started to monitor their financial systems to identify any funds that seemed to be intended for terrorism. The Israeli authority reveals that more Hamas fundraising channels have been closed over the past few weeks.
IMPRA’s Director General, Ilit Ostrovitch-Levi, has noted an increase in illegal transactions within the Israeli financial system since the war broke out. She says before the Hamas attack, IMPA used to receive roughly 100 reports daily about terror financing, but that figure has jumped to 1,000 in recent weeks. Octovitch-Levi lauds Israeli banks for their cooperation in tracking and blocking accounts suspected of making illicit transactions.
Hamas Turns to Hawala to Receive Funds
With the crackdown on traditional fundraising channels escalating, Hamas is now exploring alternatives. According to Ostrovitch-Levi, the Gaza-based terrorists now receive funds through hawala. But what is it? Hawala is a financial channel based on connections and trust. In this case, Hamas raises funds overseas, but they do not cross into Gaza. Instead, after raising the money, the terror group enters into an agreement with a wealthy Gaza-based money changer to transfer an equivalent amount of the raised funds to its account. The raised money will be transferred to the money changer at a later date.
Octovitch-Levi says the Israeli authorities are still working to identify the money changers in Gaza. Israel already assassinated one of them a few years ago. The Gaza-based money changer, identified as Hamed al-Khachari, used to transfer funds to Hamas and then get compensated by some Turkish companies.