- UK and US have today sanctioned key figures in the financial networks of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad
- Targets include a key Hamas financier who has used his money exchange and cryptocurrencies to move Iranian funding to terrorist groups
- Coordinated sanctions show ‘there is no place to hide’ for Hamas financiers, says the Foreign Secretary
The individuals are also subject to a travel ban, and will be unable to enter the UK. Five key figures and an entity involved in the leadership and financial networks of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) are the subject of the UK’s new sanctions, which will help to cut off the flow of funding that supports these terrorist groups, including from Iran. Shamlakh exploited digital currencies and existing systems of informal money transfers to move large sums of money from Iran to Hamas ahead of the tragic 7 October attacks. This underground financial network uses legitimate businesses as a front to conceal the flow of terrorist funding. These sanctions send a clear message to Hamas – the UK and our partners are committed to ensuring there is no hiding place for those financing terrorist activities.
This is the third tranche of sanctions the UK has imposed against Hamas and its associates since 7 October under the UK’s International Counter-Terrorism sanctions regime. Previous packages have targeted other top-ranking officials and financiers of Hamas. The Foreign Secretary continues to work with allies and partners to find a peaceful resolution to this conflict. During his visit to Davos last week the Foreign Secretary spoke with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog, Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, and Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq Masrour Barzani.
Those now subject to UK asset freezes and targeted arms embargoes include: Foreign Secretary David Cameron said: The UK is committed to working with partners to tackle Iran’s destabilising activities in the Middle East, including its long-term support to terrorist and militant groups. Today’s sanctions target Zuheir Shamlakh, a man with an infamous reputation as Hamas’s ‘main money changer’ since 2019, and a key figure in the group’s shift towards cryptocurrencies.
- Zuheir Shamlakh: a key Hamas financier including through his company Al Mutahadun for Exchange;
- Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh: a key operator in Hamas’s financial network who previously ran their international portfolio of companies;
- Ismail Barhoum: a member of Hamas’s Political Bureau in Gaza and the group’s governing Shura Council;
- Hassan Al-Wardian: a senior leader of Hamas in the Bethlehem/West Bank region;
- Jamil Yusuf Ahmad Aliyan: a senior PIJ official and representative based in Gaza.
The UK, along with our G7 partners, has committed to take action to deny Hamas the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities. The EU announced on Friday 19 January 2023 a new EU sanctions regime against Hamas and sanctioned six targets which had previously been sanctioned by the UK and US. Today’s announcement is the third round of sanctions imposed on Hamas and PIJ by the following the 7 October attacks on Israel, which build on existing sanctions against the groups. To reach a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas can no longer be in power and able to threaten Israel. By disrupting the financial networks which sustain Hamas’ operation, including from Iran, these sanctions support that crucial aim. The UK and US have imposed coordinated sanctions on Hamas today to disrupt the terrorist group’s financial networks.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- Hamas and PIJ themselves are already sanctioned by the UK, and are subject to an asset freeze and arms embargo.
- Membership and expressing support for Hamas or PIJ is an illegal act in the UK, punishable by up to 14 years in prison. Dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, have designated Hamas and PIJ as terrorist groups.
- An asset freeze prevents any UK citizen, or any business in the UK, from dealing with any funds or economic resources which are owned, held or controlled by the designated person. It also prevents funds or economic resources being provided to or for the benefit of the designated person. UK financial sanctions apply to all persons within the territory and territorial sea of the UK and to all UK persons, wherever they are in the world
- A travel ban means that the designated person must be refused leave to enter or to remain in the United Kingdom, providing the individual is an excluded person under section 8B of the Immigration Act 1971
- This follows two previous rounds of UK-US coordinated sanctions action against Hamas following the 7 October attacks on Israel. For further information: on the first round of sanctions against Hamas since 7 October and also the second round.
- On 14 December the Foreign Secretary announced a new Iran sanctions regime, giving the UK extensive new powers to hold Iran to account. For further information on this and the first round of sanctions under this regime: New Iranian sanction regime comes in to force – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)