Israeli Authorities Freeze Hamas-Linked Cryptocurrency Accounts With Binance’s Help Amid Escalating Conflict

Israeli police have frozen cryptocurrency accounts belonging to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group responsible for a recent multi-pronged attack on the country, which escalated into a full-scale war that is currently ongoing and has claimed the lives of thousands.

After the attack, the defense minister of Israel ordered a total blockade of Gaza, the Palestinian territory from which Hamas’ attack was launched. According to local news outlet Calcalist, the Lahav 433 unit of Israel Police’s cyber division collaborated with the defense ministry, intelligence agencies, and leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance to identify and freeze the accounts.

The report adds that any funds seized from Hamas will be added to Israeli’s national treasury. Notably, the  U.S. Commodities Futures and Trading Commission’s (CFTC) lawsuit against the CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, claims the company was aware of “HAMAS transactions” on their platform.

Since 2021, Israeli authorities have taken over about 190 Binance accounts that they suspect are connected to terrorist groups, with blockchain intelligence firm Chainalysis having helped the Israeli government seize cryptocurrency addresses associated with fundraising efforts then.

Binance said in June that it had cooperated with Israeli authorities before to stop “a terrorism financing operation linked to Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah.” Earlier this year, according to Chainalysis, Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), the group’s military wing, announced the shutdown of their crypto donations programs.

The Al-Qassam Brigades are designated as a terrorist organization by nearly all Western countries over their attacks on Israel and its allies. Cryptocurrency donations have been a way for AQB to raise money and avoid the conventional financial system, which has mostly excluded the organization. 

AQB has often created websites and social media campaigns to ask for these donations, giving specific donation addresses for supportive readers and also giving clear instructions on how to buy and transfer cryptocurrency without being detected by authorities.

Featured image via Pixabay.

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