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Authorities in Israel Freeze Binance Crypto Accounts Associated with Hamas - Decrypt


On Tuesday, the Cyber Unit of Israel's police announced its collaboration with Binance in freezing multiple cryptocurrency accounts linked to Hamas.

The initiative was carried out with the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Security Agency, and other national intelligence agencies.

It is part of measures taken following the deadly attacks carried out against Israel by Hamas since Saturday.

The crypto exchange aided the Israeli authorities in pinpointing and deactivating the associated accounts.

"Binance actively partners with global law enforcement agencies and regulators, united in the mission to combat terror financing," a Binance spokesperson told Decrypt. "Over the past few days, our team has been working in real-time, around the clock to support ongoing efforts to combat terror financing. We are committed to ensuring the safety and security not just of the blockchain ecosystem, but also the global community, through our proactive work."

These accounts, as confirmed by the police statement, were set up by Hamas and have been active in fundraising through various social media platforms since Saturday.

Israel's Police Cyber Unit also collaborated with British police to freeze a Barclays Bank account in the UK, which Hamas had directly referred to for donations.

When contacted by Decrypt for comments, representatives from the Israeli police and Barclays were unavailable for an immediate response.

Hamas turns to crypto

Hamas and other terrorist groups' use of crypto isn't without precedent.

Hamas first initiated a call for crypto donations in February 2019 to dodge international sanctions.

A Reuters investigation from last May highlighted that from 2021, Israeli authorities had immobilized nearly 190 crypto accounts on Binance.

A significant portion of these belonged to Palestinian firms that had affiliations with the Hamas.

Blockchain analytics firm, Chainalysis, also indicated that over the years, Hamas had managed to secure tens of thousands of dollars through crypto.

However, in April this year, the military branch of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), announced the shutdown of their crypto donation program. They cited successful government efforts to identify and prosecute donors.

A few weeks later, in June, the Israeli government announced that it seized $1.7 million worth of crypto from accounts linked to Hezbollah and the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force.

The United States has designated these two groups as terrorist organizations and blocked them from the traditional global financial system.

The operation at that time marked "a precedent by exposing the source of terrorist financing through digital currencies," as Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant then said.

Following the ongoing attacks against Israel, local crypto community leaders launched Crypto Aid Israel, an initiative that seeks to raise funds to assist citizens displaced due to the conflict.

Crypto Aid Israel oversees a multi-sig wallet designed to garner donations in diverse cryptocurrencies, such as BTC, ETH, USDT, and USDC.

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