The United Kingdom and the United States have imposed fresh sanctions on key leaders and financiers associated with Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). The sanctions list eight individuals, including those with ties to Turkey.
The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the move, which includes asset freezes and travel bans designed to isolate the groups and hamper their operations.
The Treasury announcement also included remarks by Brian E. Nelson, the Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, who during his visit to Istanbul on 30 November highlighted Turkey’s “prominent role” in providing access to funds for the militant group behind the 7 October attack on Israel, saying: “We are profoundly concerned about Hamas’s ability to continue to fundraise or find financial support for its operations for potential future terrorist attacks here in Turkey”.
Nelson pointed out that Hamas uses well-placed officials and affiliates to exploit seemingly permissive laws to fund military activities in Gaza.
In contrast to most NATO members, Turkey does not list Hamas as a terrorist group and is host to some of its members. In October, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan publicly declared Hamas to be a “liberation group” and denounced Israel as a “terror state”, pledging his unwavering support for Palestine. Meanwhile, the US has sanctioned several Turkish entities and individuals since 7 October.
Among the individuals targeted in the latest sanctions, three have ties to Turkey:
– Haroun Mansour Yaqoub Nasser Al-Din (Haroun Nasser Al-Din): Head of Hamas’s Jerusalem office in Turkey, playing a key role in the group’s financial operations between Turkey and Gaza.
– Jihad Muhammad Shaker Yaghmour (Jihad Yaghmour): Official Hamas representative in Turkey, involved in seemingly legitimate cultural activities that serve as a cover for Hamas support.
– Mehmet Kaya: Involved in several money transfers on behalf of Hamas, providing the group with tens of millions of dollars in financial services.
This is the second round of targeted sanctions by the UK and the fourth by the US against key Hamas figures in the wake of the 7 October attacks in Israel. The sanctions also cover Mahmoud Zahar, the co-founder of Hamas, Ali Baraka, the head of external relations for Hamas, and a leader of the PIJ.