From CompliNEWS | Financial Service Intelligence Watch
EU targets six individuals with sanctions for financing Hamas
The European Union has imposed sanctions on six individuals for their involvement in financing the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas. These sanctions include an asset freeze and a visa ban, reports Barron’s. Among those sanctioned is Musa Dudin, identified as a senior member of Hamas’ investment office. The other individuals are financiers based in Sudan, Lebanon and Algeria.
These actions by the EU follow the 7 October 2023 attack on Israel, which resulted in significant casualties and the seizing of hostages. In response to this attack, Israel has launched an offensive, causing numerous casualties, including a high percentage of women, children and adolescents.
Additionally, Yahya Sinwar, the political chief of Hamas in Gaza, was added to the EU’s ‘terrorist’ blacklist earlier in the week. Hamas has been listed as a ‘terrorist’ organisation by the EU for some time. These sanctions come ahead of talks in Brussels between EU foreign ministers and their counterparts from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The EU is also considering sanctions against ‘extremist’ Israeli settlers in the West Bank.
This development highlights the ongoing tensions in the region and the EU’s efforts to respond to actions it deems as supporting terrorism.
The UK, US, and Australia have announced coordinated sanctions targeting key figures in the financial networks of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. These sanctions are aimed at disrupting the funding channels of these terrorist organisations, including their financial support from Iran.
Among the targets is Zuheir Shamlakh, identified as a key Hamas financier. Shamlakh is noted for his role in utilising cryptocurrencies and money exchange services to transfer Iranian funds to these terrorist groups. The use of digital currencies and informal money transfer systems by Shamlakh represents a strategic shift in the financing methods of Hamas.
The sanctions involve asset freezes and travel bans. These measures are intended to hinder the ability of these individuals to conduct financial transactions and limit their movement internationally. The list of individuals sanctioned by the UK includes:
- Zuheir Shamlakh, known as Hamas’s ‘main money changer’ and a pivotal figure in adopting cryptocurrency methods for financing.
- Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh, involved in Hamas’s financial operations and international business portfolio.
- Ismail Barhoum, a member of Hamas’s Political Bureau and Shura Council in Gaza.
- Hassan Al-Wardian, a senior leader of Hamas in the Bethlehem/West Bank region.
- Jamil Yusuf Ahmad Aliyan, a senior official in Palestinian Islamic Jihad based in Gaza.
These sanctions are part of a broader international effort to counter the activities of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad following the attacks on Israel on 7 October 2023. The EU has also recently announced sanctions against Hamas, aligning with actions taken by the UK and US.
This coordinated international response underscores the commitment of these countries to combat terrorism and disrupt the financial networks that support terrorist activities. The Foreign Secretary of the UK emphasised the importance of these measures in sending a clear message to Hamas and its financiers that there is no safe haven for those supporting terrorist activities.