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US, UK, Sanction Three Persons from Turkey for Financing Hamas

On Wednesday, the Department of the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, OFAC, imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Hamas, including three names from Turkey, amid the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel.

“Today’s action targets key officials who perpetuate Hamas’s violent agenda by representing the group’s interests abroad and managing its finances. OFAC closely coordinated with the United Kingdom to concurrently designate several key Hamas officials,” the official press release wrote.

The sanctioned three names are two Hamas officials who live in Turkey and a Turkish citizen.

Jihad Muhammad Shaker Yaghmour, or Jihad Yaghmour, is Hamas’s official representative to Turkey.

“He has organized and attended delegations with senior Hamas leaders, and is also involved in handling covert terrorist activities for the group,” OFAC said and added that Yaghmour is involved in seemingly legitimate cultural activities in Turkey, which serve as “a cover for his activities in support of Hamas”.

“Hamas continues to rely heavily on networks of well-placed officials and affiliates, exploiting seemingly permissive jurisdictions to direct fundraising campaigns for the group’s benefit and funnelling those illicit proceeds to support its military activities in Gaza,” said the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson.

The second sanctioned name is Turkey-based Haroun Mansour Yaqoub Nasser Al-Din, or Haroun Nasser Al-Din, who is the head of Hamas’s Jerusalem office.

“Working in coordination with Zaher Jabarin, he has been one of Hamas’s key financial operatives in Turkey. Haroun Nasser Al-Din has also been involved in a network that transferred funds from Turkey and Gaza to the Hamas command center in Hebron, West Bank, and worked with US-designated Hamas senior official Salih Al-Aruri to provide financial support to Hamas activities to further unrest in the West Bank,” the OFAC said.

The third named person is Turkish national Mehmet Kaya. “Kaya has been involved in multiple money transfers on behalf of Hamas over several years, ultimately providing tens of millions of dollars of financial services for Hamas,” the OFAC added.

The latest decision to sanction these names is a continuum of previous joint Washington and London moves to cut Hamas’s financial means.

“This action builds on OFAC’s recent joint designations with the United Kingdom on November 14, targeting Hamas leaders and financiers, as well as US actions on October 27, targeting sources of Hamas support and financing; October 18, targeting Hamas operatives and financial facilitators; and May 2022, designating officials and companies involved in managing Hamas’s secret international investment portfolio,” OFAC said.

In addition to Qatar, Turkey under its Islamist President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has sheltered Hamas officials for years.

Turkey has accused Israel of genocide against Palestines since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7 and since Israeli striikes killed thousands of Palestinians in Gaza. While many Western countries designate Hamas as a terrorist organisation, President Erdogan has defined it as a group of “freedom fighters”.

According to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza on Wednesday, at least 18,608 Palestinians have been killed in ongoing Israeli attacks since October 7. The death toll on the Israeli side stood at 1,400.

Source : BalkanInsight