Gaza Militant Group Raises Funds via Cryptocurrency for Jihad Against Israel

Via the militant group’s media wing, al-Buraq, Liwa al-Tawhid, a Salafi-jihadist group in Gaza and a member of al-Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, recently published a message requesting support in the form of cryptocurrency to fund their jihad against Israel.

“Madad campaign – To support the mujahideen of the Nasser Salah al-Din Brigades, Liwa al-Tawhid. Contribute to equipping a mujahid in occupied Palestine. The Prophet said, he who equips a mujahid, or took care of a mujahid’s family, Allah rewards him as if he also went to jihad,” the message stated.

The group also published a Bitcoin address where the virtual cryptocurrency could be sent to. For those not technically inclined, the group stated a user could contact the administrator of the channel and make arrangements to deliver funds.

The use of cryptocurrency by Gaza’s militant groups as an alternative to raising funds and circumventing international anti-terrorism laws has gone mainstream over the last several years. Groups sanctioned as Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) by the United States such as Hamas and al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have adopted this method of fundraising with varying degrees of success.

Citing a senior Hamas official, The Wall Street Journal reported in June a ‘spike’ in bitcoin donations to Hamas during the conflict against Israel and that ‘some of the money gets used for military purposes [al-Qassam Brigades] to defend the basic rights of the Palestinians.’

This is likely the reason behind Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s July decision to sign an administrative seizure order for the cryptocurrency wallets and addresses used by Hamas to funnel funds to the militant group.

It is difficult to say if Liwa al-Tawhid has had any success in receiving funding for their cause since the launch of their cryptocurrency campaign. However, analyzing the Bitcoin address the group provided for supporters to transfer funds, a total of zero Bitcoin has so far been transferred.

Unlike Hamas and other militant groups, Liwa al-Tawhid has evaded action against their finance operation thus allowing them to continue using cryptocurrency to raise funds for jihad against Israel.

Joe Truzman is an editor and senior research analyst at FDD's Long War Journal focused primarily on Palestinian armed groups and non-state actors in the Middle East.

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