|The objective had been marked by the General Security Service several months ago: money smuggled in from foreign sources to the various terror organizations.
The main venue of last night's operation was in a bank in Shechem used by Hamas to finance its terror activities. The raid included the confiscation of computers, documents, telephones, and receipts. Gunshots and explosives rained down upon the Israeli forces, who were unhurt but returned fire. One wanted terrorist was arrested, and another was shot.
A Hamas member arrested a month ago told investigators that the money had been transferred from Syria and Lebanon to Hamas and Islamic Jihad via Arab money changers in Judea and Samaria.
The Palestinian Authority does not supervise monies that arrive from abroad, and turns a blind eye to their frequent use for terrorist activities.
Two moneychangers have been arrested and questioned by the Shabak over the past several weeks, one from Judea and one from Samaria. One of them, Iman Sayad, has admitted to having helped in the transfer of tens of thousands of dollars from Hizbullah in Lebanon to leading wanted terrorists in Shechem. The second, Amin Shahtour of Bethlehem, was arrested on similar charges.
"This money is the gas that fuels the engine of terrorism," a Shabak leader said, "and that which helps build the terrorist infrastructures and enables the perpetration of terror."
Dr. Martin Sherman, of Hebrew University's political science department, told Arutz-7's Hebrew newsmagazine today that Hamas mixes charity funds and terrorism monies together in the same bank accounts. "This makes it difficult for Israel to explains operations such as the one in Shechem," he said.
Sherman says that throughout the world, "it is known that Hamas and Hizbullah receive their money from trans-Atlantic drug deals, based in South America. The money goes to support families of terrorists who committed suicide attacks, and is used to pay for training and attacks, including the arms and explosives they require.