In nighttime raids, security forces seize Hamas funds from terrorists’ families
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In nighttime raids, security forces seize Hamas funds from terrorists’ families

Police, Shin Bet confiscate cash, jewelry, car from 7 East Jerusalem families in crackdown on terror funding

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Screen capture from video of police raiding the homes of East Jerusalem families who received financial support from Hamas for terror acts carried out by family members, August 14, 2017. (Israel Police)
Screen capture from video of police raiding the homes of East Jerusalem families who received financial support from Hamas for terror acts carried out by family members, August 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Israeli security forces raided the homes of seven families of Palestinian terrorists in East Jerusalem late Monday night, seizing some NIS 100,000 ($28,000) in cash, along with jewelry and a car, which are suspected of being gifts from the Hamas terror group, officials said.

In the overnight operation, officers of the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service entered the homes of the families, all of which had children who carried out terror attacks either on behalf of Hamas or with the group’s support after the fact. These included recent attacks, like a 2015 car-ramming and stabbing, as well as more distant ones, like the 1994 kidnapping and murder of IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman.

“The Israel Police and security forces will pay a visit to anyone who received terror money or expressed support for or encouraged terrorist activities. Their property will be confiscated, and they will stand trial,” police said in a statement.

“The involvement of Jerusalem residents in these kinds of activities, which are funded by Hamas, is a serious crime and represents an attempt by Hamas to gain a foothold in Jerusalem,” police added.

The Shin Bet said the operation was the result of two years of intelligence gathering. Since 2015, the agency has been collecting information about the seven East Jerusalem households that received payments from Hamas, identifying some NIS 130,000 ($36,000) in money and gifts.

This intelligence was shown to Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who approved the joint Shin Bet-Israel Police operation, the security agency said.

According to the Shin Bet, this funding from Hamas is meant to “encourage terror and give ‘financial backing’ to the families of terrorists.”

Money seized by Israeli security forces, which is suspected of having been given to families of terrorists by Hamas, on August 14, 2017. (Shin Bet)
Money seized by Israeli security forces, which is suspected of having been given to families of terrorists by Hamas, on August 14, 2017. (Shin Bet)

The NIS 100,000 ($28,000) that was recovered came in the form of both Israeli shekels and foreign currency, the security service said. In addition to the cash, police said, they also confiscated jewelry and a car.

The homes were in the Arab neighborhoods of Wadi Joz, Issawiya, Beit Hanina and Ras al-Amud.

According to police, the officers seized money from the families of Tareq Abu Arafa, Ahmad Fathi Abu Sha’ban, Muasseb Ghazaleh, Hassan Mahani, Omar Iskafi, Muhammad Nimer and Ayman Muhie al-Din Shami.

Abu Arafa took part in the kidnapping and murder of Wachsman in Jerusalem in 1994. The money was seized from his mother, the Shin Bet said.

Cash was also seized from Mahani’s father. In October 2015, 15-year-old Hassan Mahani, along with his 13-year-old cousin Ahmed Manasra, stabbed two people, wounding one seriously and the other critically, in the Jewish neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev.

Rescue services at the scene of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem's Pisgat Zeev neighborhood on October 12, 2015 (Israel Police)
Rescue services at the scene of a stabbing attack in Jerusalem’s Pisgat Zeev neighborhood on October 12, 2015 (Israel Police)

Sha’ban carried out a stabbing attack near the Jerusalem Central Bus Station on October 14, 2015, in which an elderly woman was wounded.

Ghazaleh tried to stab a group of police officers in Jerusalem on December 26, 2015. He was shot and killed as he lunged at the officers with a knife. No officers were harmed.

Iskafi carried out a combined car-ramming and stabbing in the ultra-Orthodox Romema neighborhood of Jerusalem on December 6, 2015, injuring two people. He was shot dead by an off-duty IDF soldier.

Nimer, from the Issawiya neighborhood, was shot dead as he attempted to stab two security guards near the Old City’s Damascus Gate on November 10, 2015.

Finally, Shami was killed by security forces during a violent demonstration in 1994 and was identified as a “martyr” by Hamas, police said.

The money, jewelry and car that were seized have been placed in police custody under an administrative order, police said.

In February, the Shin Bet and police conducted a similar operation in East Jerusalem, seizing some NIS 200,000 ($56,000) in cash, checks, cars, a truck and jewelry. Police also arrested 14 suspects.

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