The Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Tuesday that it had successfully seized millions of dollars in digital funds intended for Hezbollah, a powerful Iranian-backed Lebanese group, and the foreign Quds Force arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards. The operation, approved by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, aimed to identify and confiscate funds laundered by Iran-supported organizations.
According to the Defense Ministry, Hezbollah, Quds Force, and Syrian operatives have been using digital currencies to receive funds from third parties through illegal transactions. However, Israeli authorities were able to stop the transfer of millions of dollars to these operatives and effectively cut off the flow of terror funds through this channel.
“This operation represents another step in our ongoing economic campaign against Iran and its terrorist proxies,” stated Defense Minister Yoav Gallant. “We have disrupted the terrorist infrastructure and seized millions of Shekels intended for use by these terrorist organizations. This demonstrates our unwavering commitment to combating terror funds.”
The Israeli Defense Ministry did not disclose the amount of funds seized, but blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis reported that $1.7 million was confiscated during the operation. The involvement of Chainalysis tools in this landmark achievement was confirmed in a blog post by the firm, which expressed pride in its contribution to national security.
Israel’s success in seizing cryptocurrency intended for terror financing follows similar efforts against other extremist groups. Earlier this year, Israeli authorities seized around 190 accounts on the popular cryptocurrency exchange Binance, linked to the Islamic State and Hamas. Although a blog post by Binance pointed out that the Reuters report was intentionally misleading as it failed to include crucial details in its coverage.
The Israeli Defense Minister emphasized the role of collaboration and advanced technology in this operation’s success. Gallant credited the joint efforts of the Israeli defense and justice ministries, Israeli intelligence agencies, and the development of new capabilities within the National Bureau for Counter-Terrorist Financing in the Ministry of Defense. These collective efforts have yielded significant achievements in the battle against terrorism financing.
Hezbollah has been accused of engaging in various acts of terrorism and is considered a major threat to Israel’s security.
Combating terror financing in the digital age
The fight against terror financing has become increasingly complex as extremist groups utilize digital currencies. Defense Minister Gallant addressed this issue during his speech at the National Bureau for Counter Terror Financing conference, highlighting the importance of combating the resources behind terrorism.
Gallant emphasized that anyone who finances or maintains financial ties with terrorist operatives will be targeted, similar to those directly involved in acts of terrorism. He also emphasized Iran’s role as a key financier, trainer, and disseminator of terrorism, both directly and through its agents.
Israeli authorities have clarified that their fight against terrorist financing is ongoing. With the successful operation against Hezbollah and the Quds Force’s digital financing scheme, Israel has sent a powerful message about its determination to disrupt terrorist funding and safeguard national security.