(Communicated by the IDF Spokesman)
As part of security forces’ activity against terror funding sources, the IDF, ISA, Civil Administration and Israeli Police carried out a number of operations overnight in the West Bank. During the operations, forces searched the houses and offices of 13 moneychangers in Jenin, Nablus, Tulkarm and Ramallah, who are suspected of trafficking money used to fund terror activity. In the course of the operation, forces confiscated 5 million NIS and approximately 170,000 dinars, in addition to many documents. Two moneychangers were arrested.
The purpose of the operation was to confiscate money being transferred to terror organizations and files documenting the transfer of funds to these organizations. The moneychangers searched are involved in the transfer of funds from the main offices of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hizbullah in Syria and Lebanon to the infrastructures of the organizations in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The funds, provided mainly by Iran, were intended to finance terror attacks, the purchasing of weapons and explosives, terrorist training, the construction of explosive belts and car bombs, the production and launching of Qassam rockets, and more.
Over the past few weeks IDF forces arrested two moneychangers in the West Bank involved in funding terrorism:
- Iman Haris Mahmad Sayid, 42, a resident of Nablus. Sayid was arrested on July 17th. He told investigators that he had transferred sums of up to tens of thousands of dollars from Hizbullah to wanted members of the Tanzim organization belonging to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Nablus, including Fadi Kapisha, who was killed recently during an IDF attempt to arrest him. Sayid also said he was involved in weapons dealing.
- Amin Abdullah Hader Shahtur, 45, a resident of Bethlehem. Shahtur was arrested on August 7th. He told investigators that he had transferred tens of thousands of dinars to members of Hamas and to Hamas institutions which had been outlawed by Israel, after they failed to transfer funds through Jordan via different means. Shahtur also said that he had converted checks into cash for Hamas and Islamic Jihad institutes which had been outlawed by Israel.
Over the past few years terror organizations have developed various methods and invested great efforts in transferring millions of dollars into the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. One of these methods is the use of moneychangers. These hold direct ties with moneychangers who are connected with terrorist headquarters (mainly in Syria and Lebanon) and who are located in different Arab nations. The funds are transferred from the moneychangers abroad to the moneychangers in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and then to the terror organizations. The moneychangers themselves enjoy high commission rates for their services.
It should be noted that the Palestinian Authority has no system of supervision over moneychangers, and they are therefore free to make such transfers without any fear of sanctions or limitations.