Unprecedented: Israel seized millions in Iranian cryptocurrency meant for terrorists

The IRGC-Quds Force and Hezbollah have now inadvertently enriched Israel’s treasury, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel recently seized millions of dollars in Iranian digital cash meant for two of its terror arms in the biggest confiscation of such funding to date, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced Tuesday.

Speaking at the Third Cryptocurrency Conference of his ministry’s Economic Warfare Against Terrorism Division, Gallant said that the bust targeted the money-laundering operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)-Quds Force and Hezbollah.

“I would like to reveal here for the first time that a few days ago, an extensive and precedent-setting operation ended that exposed an axis for financing terrorism using digital currencies,” he said. “This is the first event of such a magnitude, in which an infrastructure led by Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds Force that transferred millions of dollars for the use of terrorist elements was thwarted.”

The Quds Force acts as the extraterritorial arm of the IRGC, specializing in unconventional warfare and military intelligence operations, and supports the activities of many terror proxies, such as Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, the Houthis in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The U.S. has blacklisted both the Quds Force and Hezbollah as Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

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Using new technological tools, Gallant said, his staff worked with members of the Mossad, police and IDF intelligence as well as other agencies to track the transfer of funds and, on his order, diverted them to Israel’s treasury instead.

The terror operatives, as well as “Syrian elements,” had been using this financing method since the beginning of the year, he said, receiving the money “from third parties, mainly money changers, using illegal transactions that helped the terrorist organizations in their current activities.”

The defense minister issued a veiled threat to the enablers, saying, “Whoever finances terrorism or maintains a financial relationship with terrorist operatives must know that he is a target, just like whoever directs terrorism and sends it.”

That director, he said, is the Islamic Republic.

“This time as well, there is a clear line behind the terrorist moves that begins in Iran,” he said. “Iran is the financier, the coach and spreader of terrorism against Israel and many countries around the world, both directly and through its agents at the borders.”

Israel will continue to battle its enemy on this economic front, he vowed.

“We will continue to lead a broad, national effort to fight the financial infrastructure of terrorist organizations, of terror operatives, and of the elements involved in funding terrorism,” he said.