Israel police, with the help of crypto exchange Binance, have frozen cryptocurrency accounts that militant group Hamas was using to raise funds through social media, according to local media outlet Calcalist. The seized funds will go into the state treasury.
The accounts were frozen following the surprise attack by Hamas on Israel over the weekend, which has now escalated into a full-on battle.
According to multiple reports, the Israeli death toll has risen over 1,000, with more than that total wounded and over 100 people taken hostage. The Israeli armed forces have embarked on a multi-faceted attack on the Palestinian-occupied Gaza Strip, bombing the area and cutting off services.
“With the outbreak of the conflict, Hamas initiated a fundraising campaign on various social networks, urging the public to deposit cryptocurrencies into its accounts,” said police in a statement to Calcalist.
In an emailed statement, Binance wrote that it had spent “the past few days working in real time, around the clock to support ongoing efforts to combat terror financing. We are committed to ensuring the safety and security not just of the blockchain ecosystem, but also the global community, through our proactive work.”
Binance co-founder He Yi responded: Hamas is currently a terrorist organization defined by the United Nations. Any international organization, including any bank and trading platform, needs to cooperate when receiving inquiries and freezing. No political stance. But there is no… https://t.co/OoS9GtLLKo pic.twitter.com/er77JmwtC2
— Wu Blockchain (@WuBlockchain) October 10, 2023
It is worth noting that in March, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange in the world in terms of trading volume, for allegedly selling unregistered derivatives products to U.S. traders. In the initial suit filing, the CFTC said that Binance employees had acknowledged that the platform “facilitated potentially illegal activities,” including allowing likely Hamas transactions to go through the exchange in 2019.