US, UK impose sanctions on more than a dozen Hamas fundraising officials

David Cameron says targeting figures based in Gaza, West Bank, Lebanon, Syria aims ‘to cut off access to funding and isolate them further. Hamas can have no future in Gaza’

File: Palestinians raise the flag of the Hamas terror group during a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron, on December 1, 2023. (Hazem Bader/AFP)
File: Palestinians raise the flag of the Hamas terror group during a rally in the West Bank city of Hebron, on December 1, 2023. (Hazem Bader/AFP)

The US and the UK both announced on Wednesday a new series of sanctions against more than a dozen Hamas officials and associates who have been advancing the terror group’s finances abroad.

This is the fourth round of sanctions imposed against Hamas since the terror group’s October 7 onslaught against southern Israel, in which terrorists stormed across the border, murdered 1,200 people and took around 240 hostages into Gaza, with 135 believed to still be held captive.

The Hamas members designated for sanctions by the US include Gaza-based members Ismail Barhum and Nizar Awadallah; West Bank-based Hassan Al-Wardian; Lebanon-based Ali Baraka and Maher Obeid; and Turkey-based Haroun Nasser Al-Din, Jihad Yaghmour and Mehmet Kaya.

Others included on the UK list are Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas political leader; Akram al-Ajouri, the Syria-based deputy secretary general of Palestinian Islamic Jihad; Lebanon-based Khaled Chouman and Rida Ali Khamis; as well as Algeria-based Hamas financier Aiman Ahmad Al Duwaik.

Barhum, the US said, acted as a regional finance executive “to aggregate money from global fundraising into official Hamas finance ministry accounts.”

Baraka, the group’s head of external relations, “has publicly defended the October 7 attacks and sought to justify the taking of hostages,” the British Foreign Office said in a statement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) meets with UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Tel Aviv on November 23, 2023. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The measure “targets key officials who perpetuate Hamas’s violent agenda by representing the group’s interests abroad and managing its finances,” the US Treasury Department said.

“Hamas continues to rely heavily on networks of well-placed officials and affiliates, exploiting seemingly permissive jurisdictions to direct fundraising campaigns for… funneling those illicit proceeds to support its military activities in Gaza,” said Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson.

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron stated that “Hamas can have no future in Gaza.”

“Today’s sanctions on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will continue to cut off their access to funding and isolate them further,” he added. “We will continue to work with partners to reach a long-term political solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace.”

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen welcomed the move in a statement, thanking the US and the UK and calling on other nations to follow suit.

“Imposing these sanctions is another step in the joint fight on the diplomatic front against the terror group, worse than ISIS, through all means available to the international community,” he said.

In a statement, Hamas condemned the new sanctions “in the strongest terms.”

“This unjust decision, which is based on false claims and incitement by the Zionist entity, will not deter the Hamas movement from continuing its duty to defend the legitimate national rights of our Palestinian people,” it said.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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