- Cryptocurrency wallets used by the military wing of Hamas are being seized by Israel.
- Israel’s defence minister ordered security forces to seize 84 Hamas-controlled crypto wallets.
- Most deposits were found to be in tether and bitcoin, according to a tracking firm’s analysis.
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Defence minister Benny Gantz said the group had been pursuing an online campaign to raise finances in the aftermath of the 11-day Gaza conflict, which killed more than 200 Palestinians, including dozens of children and more than 12 Israelis.
“The intelligence, technological and legal tools that enable us to get our hands on terrorists’ money around the world constitute an operational breakthrough,” Gantz said Thursday.
Israel’s national bureau of counterterrorism issued a seizure order on Wednesday against cryptocurrency addresses believed to be controlled by Hamas.
The 84 wallets hold a mix of digital assets including bitcoin, dogecoin, cardano, and ether, according to tracking firm Elliptic. Most of these addresses have been linked to Hamas’s military wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, Elliptic’s analysis found.
Officials didn’t specify how much cryptocurrency has been seized. But Elliptic’s report showed Hamas collectively received over $7.7 million in crypto-assets.
A majority of deposits were found to be placed in tether and bitcoin, the report showed.
The militant group had seen a spike in crypto donations, especially bitcoin, since its renewed armed conflict with Israel, a senior Hamas official told the Wall Street Journal earlier this year.
To keep its financial woes in check, it had issued an appeal for donations via bitcoin from supporters in late 2019.
Gantz authorized the seizure order late June, saying he was convinced the wallets were linked to Hamas or used to carry out a “severe terror crime.”
As many believe crypto transactions maintain anonymity, cryptocurrencies are regarded as being safe to carry out illegal transactions. But thinking they are untraceable is one of the stupidest things to do, according to crypto ATM operator CoinFlip’s CEO Ben Weiss.