U.S. And UK Target Additional Hamas Finance Officials and Representatives

Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed a fourth round of sanctions on Hamas since the October 7 terrorist attack on Israel. Today’s action targets key officials who perpetuate Hamas’s violent agenda by representing the group’s interests abroad and managing its finances. OFAC closely coordinated with the United Kingdom to concurrently designate several key Hamas officials.

“Hamas continues to rely heavily on networks of well-placed officials and affiiates, exploiting seemingly permissive jurisdictions to direct fundraising campaigns for the group’s benefit and funneling those illicit proceeds to support its military activities in Gaza,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson. “We remain focused, as do our allies and partners, on leveraging our collective tools and authorities to degrade Hamas’s ability to fund additional attacks and further destabilize the region.”

This action builds on OFAC’s recent joint designations with the United Kingdom on November 14, targeting Hamas leaders and financiers, as well as U.S. actions on October 27, targeting sources of Hamas support and financing; October 18, targeting Hamas operatives and financial facilitators; and May 2022, designating officials and companies involved in managing Hamas’s secret international investment portfolio. Individuals targeted today operate as key officials of Hamas and have also provided financial support to the terrorist group. These individuals are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, as amended, which targets terrorist groups and their supporters.

HAMAS OFFICIALS AND FACILITATORS

Gaza-based Ismail Musa Ahmad Barhum (Ismail Barhum) was elected by the Hamas Shura Council as a member of the Gaza Strip Political Bureau on March 14, 2021, and has functioned as a regional finance department head that worked with U.S.-designated Hamas Finance Minister Zaher Jabarin to aggregate money from global fundraising into official Hamas Finance Ministry accounts.

Ismail Barhum is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to have acted for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas.

Türkiye-based Haroun Mansour Yaqoub Nasser Al-Din (Haroun Nasser Al-Din) is the head of Hamas’s Jerusalem office and, working in coordination with Zaher Jabarin, has been one of Hamas’s key financial operatives in Türkiye. Haroun Nasser Al-Din has also been involved in a network that transferred funds from Türkiye and Gaza to the Hamas command center in Hebron, West Bank, and worked with U.S.-designated Hamas senior official Salih Al-Aruri to provide financial support to Hamas activities to further unrest in the West Bank.

Haroun Nasser Al-Din is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, Hamas.

Ali Abed Al Rahman Baraka (Ali Baraka) is a Lebanon-based head of Hamas’s National Relations Abroad. Ali Baraka previously held the position of Hamas’s representative to Lebanon where he met with international diplomats based in Lebanon on behalf of Hamas and spoke in support of violent campaigns. Most recently his speaking about the preparation required for the October 7 attack and the current situation in Gaza reflects his role with Hamas. According to Ali Baraka’s public statements, Hamas has long drawn on money and training from Iran and Iranian proxies like Hizballah while bolstering forces in Gaza. According to 2020 press reporting on Iran’s use of Hamas officials in Lebanon as a channel to move funds to Hamas in Gaza, Ali Baraka was allegedly arrested by Lebanese authorities with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his possession, which were intended to be smuggled into Gaza.

Ali Baraka is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas.

Jihad Muhammad Shaker Yaghmour (Jihad Yaghmour) is Hamas’s official representative to Türkiye. He has organized and attended delegations with senior Hamas leaders, and is also involved in handling covert terrorist activities for the group. Jihad Yaghmour was sentenced to life in prison by Israel after being linked to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, but was exiled to Türkiye as a part of the Gilad Shalit deal in 2011, in which over 1,000 Hamas prisoners were released in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Jihad Yaghmour is involved in seemingly legitimate cultural activities in Türkiye, which serve as a cover for his activities in support of Hamas.

Jihad Yaghmour is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas.

Maher Rebhi Obeid (Maher Obeid) is a Lebanon-based senior Hamas political leader and has been part of Hamas’s Political Bureau since 2010. Prior to this appointment, Maher Obeid was reported to be the militant commander of Hamas in the West Bank, responsible for directing attacks in Gaza.

Maher Obeid is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas.

Nizar Mohammed Awadallah (Nizar Awadallah) is a Gaza-based Hamas board member and part of Hamas’s Political Bureau. Nizar Awadallah joined Hamas’s Political Bureau in 2009, and since that time has represented Hamas in international negotiations.

Nizar Awadallah is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas.

Hassan Al-Wardian is a senior Hamas official and a key figure in Bethlehem representing Hamas. Hassan Al-Wardian previously served as a political and field commander in Bethlehem for Hamas. He was selected by U.S.-designated Hamas Political Bureau member Musa Muhammad Salim Dudin for a leadership role within Hamas’s organization in the West Bank. Hassan Al-Wardian has been arrested and served time in prison in Israel as a result of his activities with Hamas.

Hassan Al-Wardian is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having acted or purported to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, Hamas.

Türkiye-based Mehmet Kaya has been involved in multiple money transfers on behalf of Hamas over several years, ultimately providing tens of millions of dollars of financial services for Hamas.

Mehmet Kaya is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13224, as amended, for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods and services to or in support of, Hamas.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons.

In addition, non-U.S. financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions risk or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the SDN List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

Treasury remains committed to enabling the flow of legitimate humanitarian assistance supporting the basic human needs of vulnerable populations, while continuing to deny resources to malicious actors. Accordingly, OFAC sanctions programs contain provisions for legitimate humanitarian support to vulnerable populations, including authorizations for certain humanitarian transactions in support of nongovernmental organizations’ activities. For more information, please review relevant authorizations and guidance on OFAC’s website. On November 14, 2023, OFAC issued a Compliance Communique which provides additional guidance for the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian people.

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