A third round of US sanctions against Hamas focuses on money transfers from Iran to Gaza

AFP , AP , Tuesday 14 Nov 2023

The United States on Tuesday said it imposed a third round of sanctions on a group of Hamas officials, members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad who work to transfer money from Iran to Gaza, and a Lebanese money exchange service that facilitates the transfers.

Janet Yellen
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. AP

The Treasury Department sanctions, coordinated with the United Kingdom, come in response to the surprise Oct. 7 offensive by Hamas on Israel that left 1,200 people dead, according to Israeli officials.

The sanctions block access to US property and bank accounts and prevent the targeted people and companies from doing business with Americans.

This and two previous rounds of sanctions against Hamas and its affiliates are aimed at protecting the international financial system from abuse by Hamas and their enablers, the Treasury Department said.

The State Department also is designating a Palestinian Islamic Jihad military leader for diplomatic sanctions.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in an emailed statement that “together with our partners we are decisively moving to degrade Hamas’s financial infrastructure, cut them off from outside funding, and block the new funding channels they seek to finance their acts.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said “we will continue to work with our partners and allies to disrupt Hamas' financing channels.”

The White House has said it has yet to uncover information that Iran, the principal financial and military sponsor of Hamas, was directly involved in the multipronged Hamas operations against Israel.

However, the US has conducted three strikes over the last two weeks against Iranian-tied weapons depots in Syria to retaliate for the more than 50 rocket and drone attacks that militant groups have launched since Oct. 7 against US bases in Iraq and Syria, which have caused dozens of minor injuries among US personnel.

President Joe Biden and other officials in his Democratic administration have traveled to the Middle East to show support for Israel and have tried to tamp down tensions in the escalating war in Gaza. But those efforts have faced massive setbacks.

At least 11,240 Palestinians, including 4,630 children and 3,130 women, have been killed since the Israeli war on Gaza began, according to the Palestainain health ministry.

The UK's Tuesday sanctions target four Hamas senior leaders and two Hamas financiers.

The leader of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, said the Oct. 7 assault on Israel was in response to the 16-year blockade of Gaza, Israeli raids inside West Bank cities over the past year, increasing attacks by settlers on Palestinians and the growth of settlements, among other reasons.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who declared Israel to be at war, said its military would use all of its strength to destroy Hamas’ capabilities. “All the places that Hamas hides in, operates from," he said, “we will turn them into ruins.”

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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