Cryptocurrency accounts used to raise funds for the armed group Hamas are frozen with the cooperation of Binance

Due to suspicions that Hamas, the Islamic organization that effectively controls the Gaza Strip in Palestine, is soliciting donations in virtual currency, the Israeli Cyber Police and the Ministry of Defense have identified and frozen related virtual currency accounts. It is reported that the cryptocurrency exchange Binance cooperated in the investigation.

Israel freezes crypto accounts seeking Hamas donations, police say | Reuters

In Wake of Attack on Israel, Understanding How Hamas Uses Crypto | TRM Insights

On October 7, 2023, the Gaza Strip-based militant group Hamas launched a major attack on Israel, firing thousands of rockets and reportedly killing at least 1,200 people on the Israeli side. .

According to Reuters and other sources, Hamas has been using virtual currency for many years to raise funds, and a campaign calling for donations was carried out on social media during the recent riots.

Although the number of accounts and the value of the seized cryptocurrencies were not disclosed, Israeli authorities were able to suppress Hamas accounts this time. It has been revealed that Binance's support was behind the specifics, and Binance said through a spokesperson, ``We have been working around the clock to support our ongoing efforts to combat the financing of terrorism.'' 'We actively partner with law enforcement and regulatory agencies around the world.'

Past violent incidents involving Hamas have been shown to increase fundraising activity. For example, in May 2021, when a large-scale

armed conflict occurred in the Gaza Strip, more than $400,000 (about 60 million yen) was donated to a course managed by Hamas.

According to TRM, which helps fight financial crime, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, has been using virtual currencies for military activities since at least the beginning of 2019. Hamas tested fundraising by soliciting Bitcoin donations on the encrypted messaging service Telegram before moving to direct fundraising on its website

In August 2020, the US Department of Justice also mentioned Hamas' virtual currency transactions, stating that the organization uses ``sophisticated cyber tools.'' At this time, a joint investigation by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that 150 virtual currency accounts were laundered with the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades. It has been confiscated.

According to TRM, the Ezzedine Al-Qassam Brigades announced on April 27, 2023, ``Out of concern for the safety of our donors and to avoid harm, we will stop accepting donations in Bitcoin.'' It issued a statement to supporters saying that hostile acts against those trying to help had intensified.

As if to add insult to injury as support channels are shrinking, the Israeli authorities have frozen the accounts this time. Israeli authorities have also suppressed accounts belonging to other groups supporting attacks on Israel, issuing seizure orders on dozens of accounts linked to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in July 2023, and one week earlier. successfully seized virtual currency belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps .

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