Britain, US unveil new sanctions against 'Hamas financiers'

AFP , Monday 22 Jan 2024

Britain and the United States unveiled new asset freezes and travel bans Monday on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) figures, in their latest coordinated asset freezes and travel bans aimed at regional militants.

David Cameron
Britain s Foreign Secretary David Cameron. AFP


Five "key figures" and an entity said to be involved in the leadership and financial networks of Hamas and PIJ were targeted, the British government said.

The measures "will help to cut off the flow of funding that supports these groups, including from Iran", it added.

Western nations have imposed a growing number of sanctions on Hamas and its allies since the group's unprecedented October 7 offensive on Israel.

At least 25,300 people, around 70 percent of them women, young children, and adolescents, have been killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli bombardments and ground attacks since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

"These sanctions send a clear message to Hamas, the UK, and our partners are committed to ensuring there is no hiding place for those financing their activities," Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a statement.

"To reach a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas can no longer be in power and able to threaten Israel.

"By disrupting the financial networks which sustain Hamas' operation, including from Iran, these sanctions support that crucial aim."

Britain and the United States announced multiple rounds of coordinated sanctions at the end of last year targeting Hamas and its Iranian backers.

London said its latest curbs will result in asset freezes, travel bans, and arms embargoes, though it is unclear whether any of those targeted had assets in Britain or had traveled there in recent years.

Zuheir Shamlakh was among those sanctioned Monday, with Britain claiming he had "an infamous reputation as Hamas's 'main money changer' since 2019".

He was "a key figure in the group's shift towards cryptocurrencies," and had "exploited" digital currencies and informal money transfer systems to move "large sums of money from Iran to Hamas" before October 7, London said.

Britain also sanctioned Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh, allegedly a key operator in Hamas's financial network, and Ismail Barhoum, a member of its political bureau in Gaza and its governing council.

Hassan Al-Wardian said to be a senior leader of Hamas in the West Bank, and Jamil Yusuf Ahmad Aliyan, an alleged senior PIJ official in Gaza, were the remaining two people sanctioned, London added.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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