The United States on Friday imposed a new round of sanctions aimed at cutting off financing for Hamas, targeting its investment fund and Iranians who funnel money and support to the group.
The Treasury Department has sent two of its top officials to the Middle East and Europe this week to coordinate an international effort to prevent Hamas from evading previous sanctions and find new ways to cut the group off from the international financial system. The United States estimates that Hamas controls $500 million worth of assets that it uses to finance terrorism.
“We will not hesitate to take action to further degrade Hamas’s ability to commit horrific terrorist attacks by relentlessly targeting its financial activities and streams of funding,” Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, said in a statement. He added that the United States was working with allies to “deny Hamas the ability to exploit the international financial system.”
The sanctions announced on Friday target companies, and investors in companies, that are part of the fund that Hamas uses to obscure who controls its assets.
The Biden administration is also focusing on the ties between Hamas and Iran. The Treasury Department imposed new sanctions on a Jordanian national, Khaled Qaddoumi, who lives in Tehran and serves as a liaison between Iran and Hamas. The administration also leveled sanctions on members of Iran’s military that train Hamas, of Hezbollah and of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, another armed group based in Gaza.
American sanctions can essentially freeze the assets of a person or organization and cut them off from the Western financial system.
The Biden administration sent Mr. Adeyemo to Europe this week to meet with his international counterparts to discuss new ways to cut off Hamas funding. Brian Nelson, the Treasury Department’s under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, also visited Saudi Arabia and Qatar for meetings on efforts to curb terrorist financing.
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said at an event on Thursday that the United States was looking for additional ways to put economic pressure on Hamas.
“We’re all over this and are likely to do more,” she said.
In a short speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London, Mr. Adeyemo said that Hamas, like the Russian government amid its war in Ukraine, had taken steps to avoid sanctions. He also said that Iran was supplying critical “financial, logistical and operational support” to Hamas.
“Hamas should have nowhere to hide in the global economy,” he said.
Patricia Cohen contributed reporting.