Israel seizes money, goods it says Hamas was sending from Turkey to West Bank

Over $120,000 confiscated, along with shipping containers full of merchandise, in what the Defense Ministry says was an effort by the terror group to fund operatives

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

Hamas supporters march on the main road of Khan Younis City, Gaza Strip, on June 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Hamas supporters march on the main road of Khan Younis City, Gaza Strip, on June 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

Israel seized over $120,000 and goods worth hundreds of thousands of shekels last month in what it says was an effort by the Palestinian terror group Hamas to transfer funds from Turkey to its operatives in the West Bank, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

The confiscations were the result of a joint investigation by the Defense Ministry’s National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing, the Shin Bet security service and the Customs Authority.

The money, totaling $121,402, was confiscated from the bank accounts of four individuals and two companies. In addition, several shipping containers and their contents that had been sent from Turkey to the Ashdod Port were seized, the ministry said.

The Defense Ministry added that this route for Hamas to move money to its operatives was now blocked.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed the seizure orders for the money and goods on January 26, but the operation was not announced to the public until Monday. A spokesperson for the minister refused to comment on the timing.

According to the Defense Ministry, the money and goods were being transferred by Hamas through two Turkish companies, Sense Sanitary Company and Tikkno Plus Ic Ve Dis.

“These were owned jointly by Hamas operatives Abdallah Fuqaha, who lives in Turkey, and Ayman al-Massri, from the Nablus area,” the ministry said.

In addition to Fuqaha and al-Massri, the seizure orders also confiscated funds from Salama Aziz Muhammad Mari and Yussef Taher Mahmoud al-Karem, both from Turkey.

“We will continue to be relentless on terror and track down its infrastructure anywhere it exists – in Israel or beyond,” Gantz said, praising the efforts of his ministry, the Shin Bet and the Customs Authority.

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