Oct 18, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration announces new sanctions against Hamas

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. Photo: Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Bloomberg Philanthropies

The Biden administration announced new sanctions against 10 Hamas leaders and financial facilitators today, including an operative based in Qatar with close ties to Iran.

Why it matters: The U.S. government is working to disrupt the ability of Hamas, an officially designated terrorist organization, to raise money and finance attacks against Israel.

What they are saying: "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," Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement.

  • "The U.S. Treasury has a long history of effectively disrupting terror finance and we will not hesitate to use our tools against Hamas."
  • This week's set of sanctions is likely the first batch in several rounds to come, as Axios first reported Tuesday.

Driving the news: Treasury officials will be traveling to the Middle East to help implement the new sanctions, a Treasury official said.

  • "We are committed to imposing more sanctions alone — and in coordination with our partners — against Hamas," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told reporters.
  • In Qatar, the Treasury Department will sanction Muhammad Ahmad 'Abd Al-Dayim Nasrallah, whom officials described as a longtime Hamas operative with "close ties to Iranian elements."
  • Nasrallah is accused of helping transfer millions of dollars to Hamas's military wing, the Izz al-Din al Qassim Brigades.
  • In total, 10 individuals and entities — including a Gaza-based exchange company that trades in Bitcoin — are subject to the new sanctions.

The intrigue: Treasury included Ayman Nofal, a member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassim Brigades, on their new list, even though officials acknowledge that he was allegedly killed in an airstrike earlier this week.

Behind the scenes: Brian Nelson, Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, addressed an anti-money laundering conference in New York on Tuesday.

  • He explained the administration's broader approach — and asked the private sector for help in monitoring Hamas's financial networks.

Go deeper: Qatar touts role as Western mediator as Hamas ties are scrutinized

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