Document Reveals How Hamas Plundered Gaza Banks of Millions

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Photo by IDF Spokesperson on 18 December, 2023
By Pesach Benson • 30 May, 2024

 

Jerusalem, 30 May, 2024 (TPS) — The Israel Defense Forces exposed a Hamas document, revealing on social media how the terror group planned to steal millions of shekels from Gaza banks.

“Revealing an internal document issued by Hamas, which shows a plan by members of the movement to plunder the safes of a bank in Gaza, followed by the theft of hundreds of millions of shekels from the branches of the Bank of Palestine in the Gaza Strip by Hamas a month later,” Lt. Col. Avichay Adraee, the IDF’s Arabic spokesperson said on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Wednesday.

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The Bank of Palestine is the largest Palestinian bank with branches throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The document was drafted by a Hamas figure identified as “Abu Jihad” and dated March 10. According to the document, “members of the movement robbed branches of the Bank of Palestine in Gaza and stole more than 400 million shekels,” Adraee said.

Adraee explained that in early February before the document was drafted, “thugs belonging to Hamas threatened Bank of Palestine employees in the Rimal neighborhood in Gaza City about withdrawing cash from the bank’s safes.” Adraee added that on April 16, one month after the document, “Hamas members stole hundreds of millions of shekels from the branch.”

Two days later, the same people stole tens of millions of shekels from another branch in Gaza City, and then on April 19, hundreds of millions of shekels were stolen from Bank of Palestine’s main Gaza City branch.

“While the residents of Gaza are experiencing an economic and social crisis, Hamas is stealing without any hesitation from civilians in the Gaza Strip for the sake of its survival and the survival of its members, and it finances its terrorist activities on the backs and out of the pockets of the people of the Gaza Strip,” Adraee said.

The war has put a squeeze on Hamas’s depleted finances. Israel seized Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt on May 7, and on Wednesday, the IDF said it had full operational control over the entire 14 km border, depriving Hamas of 20 smuggling tunnels discovered crossing into the Egyptian Sinai.

Before it lost control of the border, Hamas also hijacked humanitarian aid trucks delivering food, water, medicine, fuel and other supplies from Egypt.

As well, Israeli forces have confiscated more than $12 million in shekels, dollars, and other currencies from Hamas strongholds, operatives and affiliated money changers.

The money was transferred to the Ministry of Defense’s finance division for counting, then delivered to the Bank of Israel and deposited into state coffers.

While Palestinian residents of Gaza are displaced by war, Hamas leaders have been enriching themselves and their families for years. As The Press Service of Israel reported in September, Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh, Khaled Mashaal and Musa Abu Marzouk have personal fortunes worth a combined $11 billion, while the organization’s leadership controls an investment portfolio worth $1 billion.

Before the war, Hamas imposed taxes of 20% on goods smuggled from Egypt, and while earning an an estimated $450 million annually from Gaza’s black market trade.

Iran is also believed to provide Hamas leaders with a $100 million expense account.

Meanwhile, The Press Service of Israel reported on Wednesday that a Hezbollah crowdfunding campaign has sparked controversy in Lebanon, with critics arguing that the terror group is coercing citizens to fund a jihad campaign that does not serve the country’s interests.

At least 1,200 people were killed, and 252 Israelis and foreigners were taken hostage in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on October 7. Of the 125 remaining hostages, 39 are believed dead.

 

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