Israel and Binance join forces to freeze crypto accounts linked to Hamas
- Israeli authorities froze multiple cryptocurrency accounts after joining forces with Binance.
- The move was made to disrupt the flow of funds to Hamas, a Palestinian militant group.
Israeli authorities joined forces with the global crypto exchange Binance to freeze multiple cryptocurrency accounts allegedly linked to Hamas. The move came in response to a series of deadly attacks carried out by Hamas against Israel on Saturday, 7 October.
This coordinated operation, spearheaded by Israel’s police Cyber Unit, saw collaboration with the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Security Agency, and other national intelligence agencies. Together, they aimed to disrupt the flow of funds to Hamas, a Palestinian militant group.
Binance played a crucial role in this operation. Additionally, the exchange actively partnered with law enforcement agencies and regulators worldwide to combat terror financing.
The frozen accounts, confirmed by the police, were traced back to Hamas. Furthermore, the accounts had been actively soliciting donations through various social media platforms.
The Israel Police’s Cyber Unit, in collaboration with the Ministry of Defense, the Israel Security Agency, and other national intelligence agencies, has successfully frozen cryptocurrency accounts used by Hamas for fundraising their activities pic.twitter.com/PrUV4ybrxZ
— Israel Police (@israelpolice) October 10, 2023
Cracking down on terror financing
Hamas’s venture into the world of crypto fundraising dates back to February 2019 when they first sought digital donations as a means to circumvent international sanctions. In May 2022, Israeli authorities had already taken action against nearly 190 crypto accounts on Binance. Additionally, many of these belonged to Palestinian firms linked to Hamas.
Blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis revealed that Hamas managed to amass tens of thousands of dollars over the years through cryptocurrency channels. However, in April 2023, the military wing of Hamas, the Al-Qassam Brigades, made a surprising announcement – they were shutting down their crypto donation program. Their reason? Government efforts to identify and prosecute donors had become increasingly successful, making it increasingly challenging for them to operate.
Just a few weeks later, the Israeli government dealt another blow to terrorist financing in the crypto sphere. Furthermore, they seized a staggering $1.7 million worth of cryptocurrency from accounts tied to Hezbollah and the Iranian paramilitary Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force. The United States declared both of these groups as terrorist organizations. Furthermore, they were also effectively cut off from the traditional global financial system.
Israel-Palestine turns into a Warzone
On 7 October. Palestinian militant groups, primarily led by Hamas, initiated a significant invasion of Israel from the Gaza Strip, termed “Operation al-Aqsa Flood.” Israel responded with a formal declaration of war, launching “Operation Iron Swords.” The conflict began with rocket attacks, border breaches, and incursions into Israel, resulting in casualties and hostage situations. Israel retaliated with airstrikes in Gaza, leading to civilian casualties and displacements.
International responses varied according to region. Western nations condemned Hamas, various Muslim countries cited Israeli occupation, and Amnesty International denounced both sides for war crimes.