Israel Alleges Existence of Hamas Bitcoin Wallet - Report

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Tel Aviv has long blamed Tehran for supporting Hamas, a Palestinian Sunni militant movement. Israel holds Hamas responsible for any attack coming from the Gaza Strip.

The Interdisciplinary Centre's (IDC) International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT), in the Israeli city of Herzliya, reported that al-Nasr Brigades - Lawa al-Tawahid (the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees), allegedly operating under the auspices of Hamas, recently found a new way to fund-raise, according to a Sunday report by the Jerusalem Post.

The ICT is reported to have discovered that a Facebook page called 'cash4ps' allows Hamas to carry out remittances out of the Gaza Strip using cryptocurrency, rendering anonymity for donors and beneficiaries, the media report suggested.

According to a report seen by The Jerusalem Post, specialists from ICT found a particular bitcoin address which revealed "an irregular increase in the scope of activity”. A "deeper review showed that the same address served a seemingly legitimate financial website by the name of cash4ps”, according to Jpost.

An entity allegedly linked to the bitcoin address was “identified as operating an account in a banned bank”, the report claimed. According to Jpost, the Bitcoin Abuse Database flagged the online cryptocurrency 'wallet' as a 'piggy bank' for Hamas.

The Islamic National Bank - earlier designated by Washington as a terrorist entity for alleged connections to Hamas - was also reported to have been spotted in the list of financial transactions, the media report said.

The ICT reportedly traced down recent online activity for the bank - which has several offices and a chain of ATMs across the Gaza Strip - on social media and concluded that the bank's Facebook page was providing links to a cryptocurrency address said to be connected with the al-Nasr Brigades.

In this photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, meets Hamas deputy chief, Saleh al-Arouri, second right, and the Hamas delegation, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, July 22, 2019. - Sputnik International
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Digging further, the ITC discovered that the bitcoin wallet was linked with al-Buraq media, which identifies with the al-Nasr Brigades “and included an appeal for support due to lack of resources and Iran’s rejection to their request for support”, The Jerusalem Post said.

The ICT discovered that the total transaction volume of the wallet reached an estimated 3,370 Bitcoin ($23,800,524). According to Israeli experts, the wallet has reportedly seen over 4,500 transactions in the last four years.

The ICT report also noted that a company linked to the wallet has at least two physical addresses in the Gaza Strip.

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