While Israel is fighting Hamas on the ground inside Gaza, the U.S. and U.K. have expanded their financial sanctions against Hamas and its designated terrorists allies.
The U.S. Department of State, U.S. Department of the Treasury, in partnership with the United Kingdom government, announced on Tuesday a third list of designated-terrorists’ financial sanctions following the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks inside Israel, which resulted in 1,400 dead and over 200 hostages still held by Hamas and believed to be held inside the Gaza Strip.
This latest decision targets more key Hamas officials and the financial entities and mechanisms by which Iran provides support to Hamas and its ally, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).
This move follows the joint meeting in Riyadh of Arab and Muslim leaders over the weekend when the Iranian leader called for his Arab and Muslim attendees to praise Hamas for their attacks on Oct. 7,as earlier reported by CDM.
Washington's announcement freezes any U.S. assets of those targeted and bars Americans and U.S. financial houses from dealing with the groups and the named entities. And, if there are any violations, a party should expect to be sanctioned. It is nearly impossible to do international financial transactions these days without going through some U.S. entity.
Neither Gaza or the West Bank are subject to this embargo or jurisdiction-based sanctions.
Transactions can be made for certain nongovernmental organization (NGO) activities, such as providing medical assistance to civilians in Gaza at a hospital. Transactions related to official business of certain international organizations, such as the United Nations, are also allowed.
This third sanctions’ list specifically targets Mahmoud Khaled Zahhar, a senior member and Hamas Co-Founder, the PIJ's representative to Iran, as well as the Damascus-based deputy secretary general of PIJ and leader of its militant wing.
The Lebanese-based money exchange company Nabil Chouman & Co was also targeted, along with its owner and founder, who was also targeted by the U.K. The Treasury said Hamas uses the company to transfer money from Iran to Gaza and accused it of having transferred tens of millions of dollars.
"The United States will continue to work with our partners, including the U.K., to deny Hamas the ability to raise and use funds to carry out its atrocities," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in the Treasury statement.
"Hamas’s actions have caused immense suffering and shown that terrorism does not occur in isolation. 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 heinous acts,” further reads the statement.
The UK added sanctions on four Hamas senior leaders and two financiers, the Foreign Office said in a statement, including Yahya Sinwar, who is the commander of the Hamas military wing.
To date, Gaza’s Hamas-run Ministry of Health is claiming more than 11,000 have died from Israeli strikes, and of those, approximately 40% of them are children.
The Gaza Strip is home to 2.3 million people. Nearly 66% are now displaced and homeless and unable to leave Gaza, where food, fuel, fresh water and medical supplies are in dire need.
The U.S. Treasury's second sanctions on Oct. 27 targeted:
The U.S. has estimated the secret Hamas investment portfolio to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and includes companies operating in Turkey, as well as Sudan, Algeria, the United Arab Emirates and elsewhere.
The U.S. Treasury's second sanctions on Oct. 18 targeted:
The U.S. first labelled Hamas a terrorist group in 1997. Since 2001, the organization has been on the U.S. list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
The inclusion of individuals from Turkey and Qatar was significant because both countries have longstanding security ties to the U.S. These first sanctions were announced while President Biden was in Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The U.S. Treasury also announced financial sanctions against Iran on Oct. 18 and targeted:
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