When Israel Took Out Hamas' $13 Million Payroll With a Drone

An interesting anecdote from Nitsana Darshan-Leitner's new bookHarpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, that shows that drones and financial warfare against terrorists don't have to be mutually exclusive.

The book recounts that Israeli intelligence “had learned that the elite of the Hamas force... were rumbling to their wives and families over not being paid... their salaries in weeks. Their anger was close to undermining the entire military campaign... The lack of money meant that the families of the fighters couldn’t buy food and clothing... Hamas leaders warned of insurrection. Calls were made for an emergency delivery of dollars.”

On August 23, 2014, Israel’s intelligence services picked up the trail of a main in his 20s traveling across Sinai with $13 million in cash packed inside four large leather suitcases.

He eventually arrived at “a tunnel, well illuminated and ventilated [that] had been dug underneath the safe house... At just before dawn, the envoy sent a brief SMS message to his patrons... waiting for the money on the Gaza side of the tunnel... The text consisted of a code word indicating that the courier was coming across; the phone... was destroyed immediately after the message was sent,” the authors recount.

After an hour, when the man was almost across the tunnel and “a smile came over his face. The cash had been delivered. His mission was over... A black Mercedes... was waiting for the luggage. Inside the car was Mohammed el-Ghoul, Hamas’s head of payroll.” He connected Hamas with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Qatar and the various Gulf Arab states – and sources of money generally.

The celebration was interrupted by an Israel Air Force AH-64D Longbow attack helicopter that, with the push of a button, sent a single AGM-114 Hellfire antitank missile slamming into Ghoul’s Chinese-made car.

“The sedan evaporated into a fireball and a cloud of black smoke... the skies turned green as a storm of singed $100 bills cascaded onto the dusty streets of Gaza City.... The payroll’s incineration was a major blow to Hamas. Without the cash they could not maintain the struggle. Hamas asked for a cease-fire,” says the book.

You can hazard a guess whom Hamas was getting the money from. 

That would be Mohammed Al-Ghoul, Hamas' Justice Minister. As opposed to Mohammed Al-Ghoul who carried out the Jerusalem bus bombing in '02 which killed 19 people. There are a lot of Mohammed Al-Ghouls and quite a few ghoulish Mohammeds.

"Israeli Kills Hamas Financial Officer in Airstrike." That's how Voice of America reported that story.

Al-Ghoul was the contact person for the 2009 Goldstone report which accused Israel of "war crimes" in Operation Cast Lead, before Judge Richard Goldstone later retracted that core accusation of the report.

Of course he was.

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