The US State Department has announced a reward of up to $10 million for information leading to the identification of five financiers supporting the Palestinian group Hamas in an effort to disrupt its financial mechanisms. Three of the five financiers in question are believed to be part of the organisation’s funding network in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Israeli media reports suggest that Zaher Jabarin, the organisation’s so-called ‘CEO’ in charge of Hamas’ financial affairs, may replace the organisation’s deputy, Saleh al-Arouri, who was recently killed in a drone strike in Lebanon. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) outlined Jabarin’s alleged role in managing Hamas’s financial relations with Iran, overseeing Tehran’s transfers to Gaza and operating a network of businesses and private supporters that provide regular income.
Jabarin’s influence over Hamas’s finances is considered significant by security officials in both Israel and the US. He is believed to be the key figure responsible for funding weapons and militants, including the costs associated with the 7 October attack.
Originally based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as a hub for economic operations, Hamas moved its financial activities to Turkey after US sanctions led to the cessation of operations in Saudi Arabia. The US imposed sanctions on Jabarin in 2019, accusing him of being the mastermind of a significant financial network that enabled Hamas to raise funds, invest and launder money in Turkey.
Jabarin allegedly used financial systems in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Sudan and Turkey to set up companies and transfer funds to Gaza. According to the WSF report, “under Jabarin, Hamas’s financial office is based in a dark-glass windowed building in Istanbul, where it holds stakes in companies, including shares in a real-estate firm listed on Turkey’s stock exchange”.
In addition, Jabarin is said to have links with individuals close to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, facilitating arms and financial support to Hamas.
The WSF also highlighted allegations regarding Iran, which has allegedly transferred millions of dollars to Hamas in recent years using a private financial system and, more recently, cryptocurrencies. The funds are said to be channelled out of Beirut, Istanbul and regional business centres, according to US and Palestinian sources.