JERUSALEM -- GERTZ - Israel has reported a funding increase in late 2007 by Iran for Hamas and Islamic Jihad as leading elements in Teheran's campaign against Israel.
Officials said the funding was relayed through a network of money-changers to Iranian proxies in the West Bank. On Feb. 12, Israel's military and domestic intelligence service confiscated three million shekels, or $843,000, from money-changers in the West Bank and meant for Hamas and Jihad.
If they seized almost a million in cash, how much is out there?
"In recent years, terror organizations have raised millions of dollars and distributed the funds in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip," the statement said. "The money is transferred in various ways, mainly via money changers."
The money-changers were located in the West Bank cities of Hebron, Jenin, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarm. Israeli troops arrested five money-changers with weapons as well as Israeli shekels, U.S. dollars and Jordanian dinars.
Officials said a major Hamas financing cell has been operating around Jerusalem. They said the cell relayed 12 million shekels, or $4.3 million, to Hamas in the West Bank in 2007.
The insurgency financing came from Iran through money-changers in Lebanon, Jordan the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia, officials said. They said the money was meant expand the insurgency infrastructure, finance and train recruits and purchase and manufacture weapons.
In the first step, money-changers outside of Israel and the PA deliver funds to money changers in West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The money-changers then deliver the funds to insurgency operatives.
"It is important to emphasize that there is no supervision of money changers by the Palestinians Authority, which means that the money changers can take part in terrorist activity without restrictions or fear of sanctions," the statement said.
How much is a Qassam?