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US sanctions eight Hamas officials, financial backers

"Hamas continues to rely heavily on networks of well-placed officials and affiliates," said the U.S. under secretary for terrorism, financial intelligence.

Ali Baraka, of Lebanon, who runs Hamas’s national relations abroad, interviews with state-run Russia Today. Source: YouTube/IDF.
Ali Baraka, of Lebanon, who runs Hamas’s national relations abroad, interviews with state-run Russia Today. Source: YouTube/IDF.

Washington is sanctioning eight Hamas officials and supporters, the U.S. Treasury and State Departments announced on Wednesday.

“Hamas continues to rely heavily on networks of well-placed officials and affiliates, exploiting seemingly permissive jurisdictions to direct fundraising campaigns for the group’s benefit and funneling those illicit proceeds to support its military activities in Gaza,” stated Brian Nelson, U.S. under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence.

“We remain focused, as do our allies and partners, on leveraging our collective tools and authorities to degrade Hamas’s ability to fund additional attacks and further destabilize the region,” Nelson added.

The announcement was the fourth round of sanctions that Washington has imposed since Hamas’s Oct. 7 terror attacks. Prior sanctions were announced on Nov. 14, Oct. 27 and Oct. 18. The United States also designated Hamas’s financial backers in May 2022.

Washington “closely coordinated this action with the United Kingdom, which is concurrently targeting several key Hamas officials with sanctions,” per the State Department.

The Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control named the sanctioned, two of whom live in Gaza: Ismail Barhum, a member of the Gaza Strip political bureau who works with Hamas’s finance minister, and Nizar Awadallah, a Hamas board member.

Three of those sanctioned live in Turkey: Haroun Nasser Al-Din, who heads Hamas’s Jerusalem office; Jihad Yaghmour, Hamas’s official representative to Turkey (where he was exiled in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit); and Mehmet Kaya, who “has been involved in multiple money transfers on behalf of Hamas over several years, ultimately providing tens of millions of dollars of financial services for Hamas.”

Ali Baraka, of Lebanon, who heads Hamas’s national relations abroad; Maher Obeid, of Lebanon, a senior Hamas political leader; and Hassan Al-Wardian, of Bethlehem, a senior Hamas official, were also sanctioned.

Although the Treasury Department noted in its description of Ali Baraka that “Hamas has long drawn on money and training from Iran and Iranian proxies like Hezbollah while bolstering forces in Gaza,” the Biden administration has faced extensive criticism for easing sanctions allowing for $6 billion in frozen funds to be released to Iran.

“Treasury remains committed to enabling the flow of legitimate humanitarian assistance supporting the basic human needs of vulnerable populations, while continuing to deny resources to malicious actors,” the department stated.

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