Palestinians attend a rally marking the 34th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement Hamas in Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip, on December 10, 2021. On Tuesday, the Biden administration sanctioned a network of people and companies accused of financing the militant organization. File Photo by Ismael Mohamad/UPI | License Photo
May 24 (UPI) -- The Biden administration on Tuesday blacklisted a Jordanian Hamas finance official and an expansive network of facilitators and companies across the Middle East and North Africa that generate funds for the Palestinian militant organization.
The U.S. State Department and Treasury said they blacklisted four people and six companies with sanctions targeting Hamas' Investment Office, which holds assets estimated to be worth more than $500 million including companies in Sudan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates.
The federal departments explained that the Hamas' Investment Office oversees the day-to-day management of this investment portfolio, which finances the militant group that governs the Palestinian enclave of the Gaza Strip.
The United States designated Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 1997 and Jerusalem holds the militant group responsible for all violence that originates toward it from Gaza, which borders southern Israel and the Mediterranean Sea.
The sanctions were announced as Elizabeth Rosenberg, assistant secretary of the Treasury for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crimes, was in Israel to discuss U.S. efforts to combat terrorist financing.
"Hamas has generated vast sums of revenue through its secret investment portfolio while destabilizing Gaza, which is facing harsh living and economic conditions," she said in a statement.
The Treasury named Ahmed Sharif Abdallah Odeh of Jordan as being in charge of the international investment portfolio until 2017.
Others sanctioned include Usama Ali, who was involved in the business activities of the companies maintained in the investment portfolio as head of the Investment Office.
Turkey-based Jordanian Hisham Younis Yahia Qafisheh was also sanctioned on accusations of transferring funds for companies linked to the investment portfolio as was Kuwait-based Jordanian Abdallah Yusuf Faisal Sabri who has worked for the Hamas Finance Ministry for several years.
The Hamas-affiliated companies hit were identified as Agrogate Holding, Al Rowad Real Estate Development, Anda Company, Itqan Real Estate JSC, Sidar Company and Trend Gyo.
"Hamas maintains a violent agenda that harms both Israelis and Palestinians," Rosenberg said. "The United States is committed to denying Hamas the ability to generate and move funds and to holding Hamas accountable for its role in promoting and carrying out violence in the region."