US-UK Crackdown Targets Gaza Now and London Businesses Linked to Crypto Terrorism

Cryprocurrencies and a hooded hacker

The US and UK authorities have intensified their crackdown on entities associated with financing terrorism through cryptocurrencies following the October 7th attacks on Israel. This week, the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the UK’s Office of Foreign Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) imposed new sanctions on two individuals and three entities. The sanctions are linked to their alleged involvement in fundraising for Hamas, the Palestinian Sunni Islamist political entity.

Gaza Now engages in crypto donation campaigns

Among the sanctioned entities are Gaza Now, a social media platform based in Gaza, and two businesses located in London: Al-Qureshi Executives and Aakhirah Limited. Additionally, Mustafa Ayash, the founder of Gaza Now, and Aozma Sultana, the director of the London businesses, were targeted. They were identified as promoting pro-Hamas content and facilitating fundraising activities for the organization.

Gaza Now has been engaged in crypto donation campaigns for some time, with some flagged addresses receiving funds since 2021, according to Chainalysis. However, their efforts escalated after October 7, with frequent changes to donation addresses due to increased scrutiny following the attacks and the channel’s growing number of followers. The platform regularly posted and deleted donation requests, as well as switching between different cryptocurrencies as part of its fundraising efforts.

Additional Revelations

Despite openly expressing support for Hamas, Gaza Now’s fundraising activities attracted attention for their frequent changes in donation addresses and cryptocurrency usage after the October 7 attacks. Chainalysis discovered that most of the incoming funds originated from mainstream crypto exchanges. The flagged addresses received money from wallets previously seized by the National Bulk Cash Smuggling and Counterfeit Task Force (NBCTF), an Iranian exchange, and a money services business (MSB) in Gaza.

In addition, Gaza Now’s personal wallets received over $40,000 in various cryptocurrencies, according to Chainalysis. The analysis revealed that instant exchanges, crypto tumblers, and smart contracts were utilized to facilitate these fund transfers, indicating attempts by donors to conceal their activities. While most incoming transactions were below $10,000, larger transfers were speculated to be internal movements of funds by the entity or its associates rather than donations.

Author: Simeon

Simeon is a seasoned crypto writer with a passion for exploring the fascinating world of blockchain and digital currencies. With a background in finance and technology, Simeon brings a unique perspective to his writing, delving into the complexities of decentralized finance, cryptocurrency trading, and emerging blockchain projects.