Lawmakers introduce bill to sanction Hamas’ financers amid reported uptick in crypto donations

House lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a bipartisan bill that will sanction individuals, entities and governments that provide financing to the militant organization Hamas, on the heels of a deadly conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Brian Mast, R-Fla., formally introduced the “Hamas International Financing Prevention Act,” which has 50 cosponsors in the chamber and was influenced by a reported rise of cryptocurrency donations to Hamas since the start of a deadly 11-day conflict last month.

Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and several other governments in the West.

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“Last month, the terrorist group Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel while using Gazans, including women and children, as human shields,” Gottheimer wrote in a statement. “This bill will strengthen sanctions to weaken these terrorist groups that threaten our ally Israel, undermine peace, and further destabilize the Middle East.”

In addition to sanctioning people and groups that support Hamas, the legislation would also sanction entities that support the Palestinian Islamic Jihad or their affiliates in the region.

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The Wall Street Journal earlier this month reported a surge in cryptocurrency donations to the group, citing a senior Hamas official. 

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The 11-day stretch of deadly fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza strip ended with a tentative ceasefire on May 21.

Israel launched airstrikes into Gaza this week after Hamas sent incendiary balloons into Israel.

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