Benny Gantz signs order to seize money transferred from Iran to Hamas
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Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed an order on Tuesday to seize $4 million that Iran transferred to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The move was recommended by the Defense Ministry’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorism Financing (NBCTF).
The money was intended to develop Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, including the production of weapons and paying salaries to terrorists, the Defense Ministry said in a press release. The source of the funds is the Iranian regime, which continues to act against the State of Israel, it said.
Gantz’s order targets Gazan businessman Zuhir Shamalch and his Al-Mutahadun (the unionized) money-changing company.
In response to a similar order that was signed in February, and in an effort to disguise its relationship with Hamas, the company changed its name to Al-Markaziya Lil-Sirafa (the commerce center). The updated order includes Shamalch, the original name of the company and its new name.
The administrative order, which Gantz signed in accordance with the powers allocated to him under the Counter-Terrorism Law of 2016, allows for the seizure of funds or property equal in value to money-service businesses wherever they may be found, the Defense Ministry said.
Shamalch replaced Hamad al-Khodari, Hamas’s main money changer, after the IDF killed him in May 2019. Khodari was close with Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’s leader in the Gaza Strip.
The order will impose worldwide restrictions on Shamalch and his family by restricting their movement in some countries and restricting the financial activities of the company with international financial institutions.
The Military Intelligence Directorate and the NBCTF assembled the file that led to publication of the order.