Friday, August 5, 2016

Charity director funneled millions to militant group Hamas, Israeli investigators say

An executive in a global Christian charity group has been secretly sending tens of millions of dollars -- money intended to aid poverty-stricken families in chaotic Gaza -- to the Palestinian militant group Hamas, Israeli investigators say.

The news came Thursday as Mohammed Halabi was indicted on numerous criminal charges for misappropriating the funds. He is director of the Gaza office of the World Vision International relief group, and was arrested June 15 as he attempted to re-enter Gaza from Israel.

Halabi's arrest followed a lengthy investigation by Israel's Shin Bet security service, which concluded that roughly 60 percent of all the money received by the charity's Gaza office ended up in the hands of Hamas operators.

Shin Bet said Halabi, in fact, was recruited as a Hamas agent in 2004 -- indicating that tens of millions of aid dollars may have been going to the Palestinian group for more than a decade.

Thursday's indictment claims Halabi was asked by Hamas in 2005 to infiltrate a humanitarian organization to "operate secretly to advance" the interests of Hamas' armed wing, Izzedin al-Qassam.

World Vision International is an Evangelical humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization founded in 1950 to offer emergency aid to Christian missionaries. The London-based group expanded its scope to include social and industrial development in 1975 -- and says it is "dedicated to working with children, families and communities to overcome poverty and injustice."......

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