Attacks And Bombings On Palestinians Prompt Surge In Bitcoin Donations To Hamas

Attacks And Bombings On Palestinians Prompt Surge In Bitcoin Donations To Hamas

Bitcoin Donations To Hamas

Attacks And Bombings On Palestinians Prompt Surge In Bitcoin Donations To Hamas. In this photo, Palestinian protesters run for cover from teargas fired by Israeli troops during a protest at the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, Friday, May 11, 2018. Gaza activists burned tires near the sealed border with Israel on Friday in a seventh weekly protest aimed at shaking off a decade-old blockade of their territory.(AP Photo/Adel Hana)

After the latest clash between Israel and Palestine that resulted in 11 days of attacks and bombings that left hundreds dead, most of whom were innocent Palestinian civilians, there has been a surge in Bitcoin donations to Hamas.

“There was definitely a spike,” an unidentified senior Hamas official said of cryptocurrency donations, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). “Some of the money gets used for military purposes to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.”

Hamas, which has been deemed a terrorist group by the international community, controls the Gaza Strip – the areas where the bulk of the fatalities occurred.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the Hamas official told the WSJ the group’s revenue continues to rise. He stopped short of giving the amount raised. However, “U.S. federal authorities seized more than $1 million in cryptocurrency tied to the al-Qassam Brigades,” WSJ reported.

According to Ari Redbord, a former federal prosecutor and senior Treasury Department, last month’s violence – which also resulted in dozens of Israeli casualties – prompted even more engagement with and donations to Hamas.

“Terrorist organizations have traditionally used those sorts of rallying cries to drive engagement to their site, which drives fundraising,” Redbord said.

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An analysis by the New York-based Counter Extremism Project revealed a sharp increase in traffic on the al-Qassam Brigades’ website from May 10 through 20, when the attacks took place. The site’s ranking also rose from 993,000 to 255,885 during the recent conflict, according to data from Alexa, the WSJ reported.

Since Hamas has been blocked from using the international banking system, the group is using crypto, which can’t always be tracked by regulators, as a means of financial survival.

“Our fundraising strategies keep on evolving as more restrictions are being placed on us,” the Hamas official said.

There was also a video on al-Qassam’s website instructing people how to donate Bitcoin anonymously to help fund their operations, according to the WSJ. “Ask any money exchange to deposit the amount in the wallet address you got from the Qassam website without mentioning to whom the address belongs,” the video allegedly said. The video could not be located on the site at the time of this writing.

The surge in Bitcoin donations to Hamas is hugely beneficial to the group, according to former Israeli intelligence head Eyal Pinko.

According to Pinko, Bitcoin donations make it so Hamas militants “don’t need to worry about the dogs sniffing it at the airport. …These money transfers can be untraceable. The sky’s the limit.”