Israel claims transfer of funds to Hamas through Turkey
ANKARAThe Israeli Foreign Ministry has announced an investigation into an “infrastructure for transferring funds via couriers between Hamas command centers in Turkey and the Gaza Strip and the Hamas command center in Hebron.”
The ministry released a press statement of the Israel Security Agency (ISA) on Aug. 3 regarding the ring allegedly transferred funds for Hamas militants through Turkey.
“It was learned that almost $200,000 had been transferred before the ring was thwarted,” said the statement, which noted that the investigation has been concluded and the IDF military prosecutor is due to file indictments against those involved soon.
“The axis began the operation in early 2016 at the initiative of Muhammad Maher Bader, a senior Hamas activist in Hebron and a member of the Legislative Council, who recruited two couriers for transferring the funds. Muasseb Hashalmon, a Hamas activist from Hebron who was dispatched to Turkey under the guise of business trips, was joined by an additional recruit, Taha Othman, also a resident of Hebron,” stated the press release.
Hashalmon was asked to “transfer terrorist funds” from Turkey to Hebron, the ISA said, in a bid to finance the activities of members of Hamas’ Hebron command center.
“He was also asked to transfer funds for Hamas terrorists who had been released from prison,” stated the ISA.
Hashalmon and Uthman met several times in Turkey with a Hamas command center militant, Haroun Nasser al-Din from Hebron, who was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011, it added.
“Haroun Nasser al-Din would give the couriers tens of thousands of dollars. They, in turn, would buy goods in Turkey and send them to Hebron via international delivery companies. The goods would be sold and the funds given to Hamas militants in Hebron, minus fees. Haroun Nasser al-Din instructed the couriers to turn to Hamas militants in Hebron and offer them funds from the command center,” read the ISA press release.
There were also plans to build a cement factory with millions of dollars in Hamas financing, which would serve as a front for money laundering, Israel suggested, adding that the investigation has been concluded and the IDF military prosecutor is due to file indictments against those involved soon.
Approached by the Hürriyet Daily News, the Israeli Embassy in Ankara did not elaborate on whether it has communicated with the Turkish authorities regarding the allegations.