(JTA) — Israel facilitated the transfer of $15 million in cash from Qatar to Hamas in Gaza in three black trolley suitcases amid a significant increase in terrorist attacks, a local broadcaster reported.
The money was given over to the terrorist group earlier this week by Mohammed al-Amadi, a Qatari envoy who brought it with him in a car he drove through the Erez crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Israel Broadcasting Corp., or Kan, reported Thursday. Israel controls the crossing and nothing passes without its approval and inspection.
A United Nations official, who was not named, told Kan that the money is intended to pay the salaries of civil servants in the Gaza administration controlled by Israel.
Blacklisted in the United States and Europe, Hamas funding by various countries and groups has triggered vociferous criticism by Israel. Along with Egypt, the Jewish state has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Hamas seized power there in 2007.
Israeli government officials have declined to comment on the story, the Israeli daily Maariv reported.
The cash transfer occurred against the backdrop of a sharp increase in terrorist attacks targeting Israelis in its territory, the West Bank and the border with Gaza.
The 330 attacks documented in October by the Israel Security Agency constituted a 39 percent increase from September’s tally of 204 incidents, the agency said in its monthly report published earlier this week. Two people were killed and another two wounded in the attacks last month. Of the 330 attacks in October, 221 occurred along the border with Gaza, controlled by Hamas.
On Thursday, a 20-year-old Palestinian man was killed along the border fence. Troops guarding the border identified two suspects interfering with the fence and opened fire on them, killing one, the Israel Defense Forces spokesperson said in a statement.