ISIS, Hamas and Hezbollah rank among the world’s richest terrorist groups according to Forbes. How much death can their money buy?
Forbes Israel ranks Hamas as the second-richest terror organization in the world with a $1 billion annual income, coming in second to the Islamic State (IS or ISIS) terror group in Syria and Iraq.
Since its hostile takeover of the Gaza Strip, Hamas has managed to transform itself from a small organization that relied on charity into a massive financial conglomerate, and until the advent of IS over the summer, Hamas was the richest terror organization in the world.
Existing as a demi-state, Hamas has a strong influence on the economy in Gaza. According to Forbes’ estimates, Hamas controls 10-15 percent of the economic activity in Gaza at the sum of $3 billion, making off of it about $500 million annually.
Hamas Shakes Down Gaza Residents
Hamas has its own set of taxes that it imposes on the residents of Gaza, aside from those collected by the Palestinian Authority (PA). Hamas has created a set of rules according to which only those who pay their additional taxes have a chance of surviving in Gaza. For example, only those who pay the annual car tax get a special sticker which enables them to buy gas.
The milking of Gaza’s residents is Hamas’s main source of income, according to Forbes.
Hamas’s vast network of tunnels is a further source of income. Almost anything can be smuggled from the Sinai through these tunnels, including cars. Hamas gets a piece of the action and then taxes everything else coming in through the tunnels, the report says.
Funding State-Sponsored Terrorism
Another crucial source of funding comes from countries that support terror. Qatar, for example, supports Hamas; Iran bankrolls Hezbollah. Funds are funneled to the terror organizations through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and charities, the article continues.
Money is a key component for the survival of any terror organization, as funding is required for materials and equipment, weapons and training.
The funds are also collected through crime-organization methods, including kidnapping and extortion, drug-dealing and other illegal activities.
Corruption and Usury by Hamas Leaders
Hamas leaders are known to be personally wealthy. A report published by Israel’s Ynet news site asserts that they and their associates have been dealing in multi-million dollar deals and lining their own pockets with public funds.
They are involved in land deals, the purchasing of luxury villas and trading in black-market fuel from Egypt, but they profit primarily on the smuggling business through tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza, the report says.
Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), accused Hamas in September of embezzling $700 million earmarked for aiding Gazan families. Fatah has made such accusations several times.
ISIS at the Top of the List
Forbes ranks the Islamic State at the top of the list of wealthy terror organizations. With a $2 billion annual income, it has become the richest in the history of terrorism.
“The financial power incurred by an organization like ISIS poses a threat to the Western states and to the moderate Arab countries,” IDF Major-General (Res.) Giora Eiland told Forbes. “ISIS needs cooperation with other countries for its financial endeavors to succeed. ISIS, with all its accumulated financial assets, requires cooperation from a second party. Its oil, for instance, it sells to Turkey, so ultimately there is cooperation with it [ISIS], and that is disturbing.”
Written by United with Israel staff