ISRAEL’S SECRET WAR AGAINST TERRORISM’S FINANCIERS
A new book explores Israel’s daring covert operations against terrorism’s enablers.
Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel Katz
Hachette Books, 308 pp.
Mohammed al-Ghoul had no idea that loading cash-stuffed, leather suitcases into the trunk of his sedan would be one of the final acts of his life. Al-Ghoul was Hamas’s money man, responsible for distributing cash to the terror group’s members.
It was August 24, 2014 and the Gaza War wasn’t going well for Hamas. The Israeli Army (IDF) was wreaking havoc on the terror group, systematically knocking off its field commanders with unprecedented intelligence and accuracy. Hamas terror tunnels, some of which had taken years to construct, were being uncovered and destroyed by the IDF while the terror group’s rocket arsenal was dwindling rapidly.
But of even greater import for Hamas was the fact that its operatives weren’t getting paid. Some of its members hadn’t been paid for a month. Those that weren’t killed, wounded or captured began contemplating desertion. It was an untenable situation for Hamas.
Wiring money to Gaza wasn’t an option. Banks were on notice that wire transfers to the terror entity was a venture that carried high risk and little reward. But al-Ghoul had a plan that would provide a lifeline for Hamas.
Thirteen million dollars, secured from a friendly Muslim country, would be wired to the account of a moneychanger in Sinai. Once the moneychanger received confirmation that the funds were safely in his account, he would give a courier the cash. The courier would then smuggle it into Gaza via one of the many smuggling tunnels connecting the Gaza Strip to northern Sinai. Once in Gaza, the cash could be distributed to the fighters to stave off sagging morale and desertion.