U.S. freezes assets of Hamas financiers

Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. His department froze the assets of Hamas financiers last week.
Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. His department froze the assets of Hamas financiers last week.

Four Hamas financiers and a company used to funnel millions of dollars to the Palestinian terrorist group had their assets frozen by the Department of the Treasury last week.

Hamas political bureau member Salih al-Aruri, senior Hamas financial officer Mahir Jawad Yunis Salah, Abu Ubaydah Khayri Hafiz al-Agha and Mohammed Reda Mohammed Anwar Awad were targeted for providing financial support to the U.S.-designated terrorist organization.

Asyaf International Holding Group for Trading and Investment, which al-Agha controls, also faced financial sanctions.

As of the Sept. 10 announcement by Treasury, all of their assets in the United States or under the control of U.S. citizens are frozen. U.S. citizens are now prohibited from doing business with them. The Treasury actions were undertaken under authority of Executive Order 13224, which targets terrorists and persons providing support to terrorists.


“Treasury is committed to exposing and weakening Hamas, its supporters and its terrorist agenda,” Adam J. Szubin, acting under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement. “Today’s action targets key players in Hamas’s international fundraising and operational network.”

According to Treasury, al-Aruri has overseen the distribution of Hamas finances since 2013. In 2014, al-Aruri praised the kidnapping and subsequent murders of three Israeli teenagers which precipitated the summer conflict between Hamas and Israel.

Salah, a dual Jordanian and British citizen, lives in Saudi Arabia and is a major Hamas financier, funneling tens of millions of dollars from Iran to Saudi Arabia to fund terrorist activity in Gaza, according to Treasury.

Al-Agha, a Saudi national, used his businesses to transfer millions of dollars from Palestinian diaspora communities to Gaza. Awad, an Egyptian national, likewise was involved in the transfer of millions of dollars to Hamas and its military wing in Gaza, Treasury said.

In the last two months, Treasury has gone after the assets of 11 Hezbollah military officials, businessmen and affiliated companies. According to a source at Treasury, one network, whose assets are now frozen, operated in Syria and Lebanon to finance Hezbollah’s support for Bashar al-Assad during the ongoing Syrian civil war.

Also last week, the State Department named Hamas operatives Yahya Sinwar, Rawhi Mushtaha and Hamas military commander Muhammed Deif as “specially designated global terrorists.” Hamas has been labeled a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States government since October 1997 and as a SDGT since October 2001.

Sinwar and Mushtaha are known for their roles in founding the forerunner of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. Both were arrested by Israel in 1988 for their terrorist activities and were released in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

According to State, Deif was a mastermind of Hamas’ strategy during the summer 2014 war between Hamas and Israel. Deif is known for deploying suicide bombers and urges the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

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