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Hamas Took $800 Million in Smuggling Tunnel Investment Scam

Hamas raked in $800 million from Gaza residents who invested in smuggling tunnels but lost most of their money, Fatah has charged.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 5/24/2009, 1:50 AM

Israel News Photo: Flash 90

Hamas raked in $800 million from Gaza residents who invested in smuggling tunnels but lost most of their money to the ruling terrorist organization, Fatah has charged.

The Palestine Media Center, a branch of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), accused the terrorist organization of forcing contributors to sign documents stating that they received all of their money although Hamas retuned only 16 percent of the funds. The document also includes a pledge that the investors will not sue.

The money was supposed to be invested in two companies that Hamas set up in Egypt and Turkey after the coup two years ago. They money was invested in trading cigarettes, fuel and commodities, including animals, all of which were smuggled in tunnels between Egypt and Gaza.

Hamas previously had denied the scheme but now has admitted to it after individuals started looking for their money, the PLO media reported.

The rival Fatah faction, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, also has charged Hamas recently received 50 ambulances from European countries and immediately painted them black, removed medical equipment and put them into service for its army.

More European aid is headed for Gaza as 12 European legislators plan to make their way to northern Sinai with 40 trucks of supplies after arriving at Port Said Saturday night.