WASHINGTON — Washington aims to build an international coalition to target the financing of the Hamas terror group, a top US Treasury official said Tuesday, as war rages on in the Middle East.
The comments to AFP by Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo come after the United States unveiled fresh sanctions last week on Hamas members, operatives and financial facilitators.
“Our goal is to build a coalition with countries both in the region but also around the world to go after their financing,” Adeyemo said on the sidelines of an event in Washington.
Hamas terrorists stormed across the border from Gaza into Israel on October 7, killing some 1,400 people in the deadliest attack since the country was created in 1948 and taking over 220 people hostage.
In response, Israel announced it would destroy Hamas and began a relentless bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which according to the enclave’s Hamas-controlled health ministry has left over 5,700 died. The figures from the terror group cannot be independently verified and are believed to include its own terrorists and the victims of a blast at Gaza City hospital on October 17 caused by an Islamic Jihad missile misfire that Hamas has blamed on Israel.
Adeyemo said that during a trip to Europe later this week, he plans to meet with “allies and partners and talk about what we can do in a coordinated way to go after Hamas’ financial network.”
While the United States has previously issued a number of sanctions against Hamas, which Washington has designated a terrorist group, Adeyemo said the organization has tried to find ways around the restrictions — such as by using cryptocurrencies and new facilitators.
On Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron — on a solidarity visit to Israel — called for Hamas to be added to the targets of an international coalition against the Islamic State group.
Without commenting on Macron’s specific remarks, Adeyemo told AFP that “the strategy that was used to counteract the Islamic State and other terrorist groups is the one we have to use here.”
Brian Nelson, the Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, is also visiting Qatar and Saudi Arabia this week.
He held a meeting with “a number of Gulf countries, where they talked about what they can do to increase their focus on terrorism as well,” said Adeyemo.
“We look forward to taking additional actions when it comes to sanctions and using some of our other tools against Hamas,” Adeyemo added.