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US Imposes Sanctions to Disrupt Hamas’ Funding Sources Following Deadly Attack in Israel


US Imposes Sanctions to Disrupt Hamas’ Funding Sources Following Deadly Attack in Israel

In response to the deadly attack carried out by Hamas in Israel, the United States has taken a decisive step by issuing sanctions aimed at disrupting the group’s sources of funding. These measures were announced during President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel, reaffirming the United States’ support for its ally. The sanctions primarily target individuals involved in Hamas’ investment portfolio and a Gaza-based cryptocurrency exchange, along with other entities.

The US Treasury Department, in a statement, outlined that these sanctions focused on nine individuals and one entity spread across Gaza, Sudan, Turkey, Algeria, and Qatar. These actions came in the wake of Hamas’ destructive attack on October 7, which claimed the lives of 1,400 people in Israel. In retaliation, Gaza health authorities report that more than 3,000 Palestinians have lost their lives in bombings.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen emphasized the urgency of these measures, stating, “The United States is taking swift and decisive action to target Hamas’s financiers and facilitators following its brutal and unconscionable massacre of Israeli civilians, including children. We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel.”

These sanctions specifically address six individuals associated with Hamas’ covert investment portfolio, building upon earlier sanctions imposed in 2022 on officials and companies linked to this international portfolio. Notably, one of the key targets is a Gaza-based cryptocurrency business known as “Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company.” This firm provides services related to money transfer and virtual currency exchange, including the use of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. According to the Treasury, this company has also been utilized by other terrorist groups for fund transfers.

Blockchain research firm Elliptic revealed that crypto wallets controlled by “Buy Cash Money and Money Transfer Company” have received more than $25 million in cryptocurrencies since 2015.

In response to these sanctions, Buy Cash stated that it is a “licensed international company” without specifying which authority granted its license. The company also disputed the claim of receiving $25 million in its wallet, attributing the discrepancy to fluctuations in Bitcoin’s value.

It’s worth noting that one of Buy Cash’s crypto wallets was among several seized by Israel’s National Bureau for Counter-Terrorist Financing in June 2021, as indicated in the Treasury’s statement.

Additionally, a group of 105 US lawmakers sent a letter to the US Treasury Department and the White House expressing their “grave concern” about Hamas and its affiliated group, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, using digital assets to fund their operations and evade US sanctions.

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Ashdod Port to Complete Works of Over One-Billion-Shekel Platform 21

Ashdod Port has announced that the second section of its operational project to upgrade Platform 21 is almost complete.

The project to upgrade and make Platform 21 deeper costed over a billion shekels ($31 million) and it involves making improvements including making adjustments on the backend in addition to purchasing and transferring of cranes.

At the end of the process, the new and improved platform will have a total length of 850 meters to allow for megaships of up to 24,000 TEU to dock.

The western side will be approximately 16 meters deep and suitable for large grain ships, whilst the eastern side will be reinforced to support cranes weighing 130 tons and should reach about 17.5 meters in depth.

Ashdod Port has reported that the completion of work on the eastern side of the platform has been brought forward to allow unloading of ships and address the high demand at ports in Israel and globally.

The upgrade of the eastern side, with a length of about 320 meters, has been completed over the last few days and it is now operative.

A Neptune ship was the first to arrive at the platform, unloading imported vehicles from Europe.

Shiko Zana, CEO of Ashdod Port, said in a statement: “When the work is completed, Platform 21 will be one of the most advanced platforms in Israel for unloading grain and container ships, meeting the highest international standards. The massive investment in the project includes upgrading the water line so that cranes with an improved capacity can be installed, as well as the infrastructure for cranes that can lift two containers at once.”

Zana added that the work is expected to be completed during the second half of the year.

Earlier this year in February, Ashdod Port invested in facial recognition technology for video surveillance of all cargo-handling activities for its customers.

California, Israel Forge R&D Project Funding Pact

Sacramento, CA – The government of Israel and the state of California have signed an agreement to fund joint research and development (R&D) projects in a variety of fields including bio-medicine and technology.

According to the agreement, which will be carried out by MATIMOP – the executive agency of Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS) – along with the appropriate bodies in the US, companies from Israel and California will receive financial assistance for joint R&D projects in a variety of fields.

The agreement, initiated by the OCS and the Head of Israel’s Economic and Trade Mission to the West Coast, is modeled on similar agreements between Israel and a number of US states.

Under its terms, requests for proposals will be issued in the coming weeks inviting companies from Israel and California to submit joint bids for R&D projects.

According to the Israeli Foreign Trade Administration, California is one of the key target states for Israeli companies active in the US. The agreement is a component of the mutual economic development pact signed between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and California Governor Jerry Brown in March.”

The R&D agreement was signed at the recent Bio Conference in San Diego, which was attended by a delegation of 17 Israel biomed companies chosen by the Office of the Chief Scientist, MATIMOP, the Israel Advanced Technologies Industries (IATI), and the Israel Foreign Trade Administration.