New Delhi, October 11: The severe attacks of Palestinian militant group Hamas from Gaza in Israel over the weekend, causing significant damage and casualties, has led to questions about the funding source for the operation, with some suggesting the potential involvement of cryptocurrency, media reports said. Investigations into Israeli government seizure orders and blockchain analytics reports prior to the assaults have revealed large amounts of money going to three organisations -- Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah militia, according to media reports.
A Wall Street Journal report claimed that between August 2021 and June of this year, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ)'s Bitcoin wallets received an astounding $93 million in cryptocurrencies. In the midst of this, an Indian investigation into a crypto heist uncovered surprising revelations. As per the media reports, a complainant reported the illicit transfer of Bitcoins, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash, amounting to approximately Rs 30 lakh, from their cryptocurrency wallet. Israel-Palestine War: Tech Giants Like Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Others Condemn Hamas Attack on Israel, Pledge Employees’ Security.
Initially lodged at Delhi's Paschim Vihar police station, the case was subsequently handed over to the Cyber Crime Unit, Special Cell, Delhi, following directives from the court. As part of the investigation, a trail of cryptocurrency transactions led to some surprising discoveries. It was found that the cryptocurrencies eventually ended up in wallets that were associated with the Al-Qassam Brigades, the military arm of Hamas. These wallets had already been seized by Israel's National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing. One of the wallets that had been seized belonged to Mohammad Naseer Ibrahim Abdulla.
A large amount of the cryptocurrency that had been transferred to other wallets was discovered to be operated from Giza, Egypt. One of these wallets belonged to Ahmed Marzooq, an Egyptian in Giza, and another to Ahmed Q.H. Safi, a Palestinian living in Ramallah. Once the cryptocurrency passed via a number of private wallets, they ended up in wallets run by Hamas' military branch in Gaza, Egypt, and Palestine, media reports said. India's UPI System Is 'Fantastic At Many Levels' But 'Incredibly Painful Experience' For Ecosystem Participants: Mastercard CFO Sachin Mehra.
Israel took swift action after suspicions that Hamas had begun a fundraising campaign on social networks via cryptocurrencies with the outbreak of war. The cyber branch of the Israel police successfully froze these cryptocurrency accounts used by Hamas, with the help of crypto exchange Binance. "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," Isreal Police posted on X on Tuesday.
(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 11, 2023 06:23 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).