GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, announced Jan. 31 that Hamas started receiving financial support for the first time in bitcoins from its supporters around the world. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and an international payment system comparable to international currencies.
The announcement is a new attempt by the Hamas movement to challenge the Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) policies aimed to dry up its resources. The Hamas-run Gaza Strip has been reeling under an Israeli blockade since 2007. Ever since, Israel has been controlling security at the only commercial crossing with Gaza, the Karam Abu Salem crossing, while Egypt imposes restrictions on the Rafah crossing for the passage of people in southern Gaza.