Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Israeli forces arrest ‘travel agents’ accused of operating Hamas money laundering ring

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The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced Wednesday that they had arrested three Hamas operatives who posed as travel agents in order to operate a money-laundering ring, which transferred “illicit terror funds from Gaza to the West Bank.”

“Meet the West Bank-based Al-Haramain ‘travel agency,'” the IDF tweeted. “Instead of booking hotels, Al-Haramain has in fact been operating a Hamas money laundering [sic] ring, transferring illicit terror funds from Gaza to the West Bank.”

“This dirty money funded terror activity and Hamas salaries,” the tweet continued.

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The Times of Israel reported that the arrested men have been identified as Mohammad Abu Salim, Ibrahim Muzaffar and Khaled Muzaffar. The Muzaffars have previously served time in an Israeli prison for security-related offenses, the newspaper added.

The criminal network was operated by a Gaza Strip passport-issuing agency called “Al-Haramain,” the IDF told the Times of Israel.  Money was transferred by offsetting debts between several independent money exchangers while using a minimal amount of cash. Therefore, the money did not need to be registered in global banking systems.

The IDF did not specify how much money was moved in this way, but The Times of Israel reported that it was “large amounts.”

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The IDF said it was increasing “enforcement measures against civilian companies cooperating with terror organizations in the area and in the Gaza Strip.”

“We won’t let terror be Hamas’ destination,” the military tweeted.

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