ShekelsFlash 90

Hamas police in Gaza announced on Sunday they had uncovered a counterfeiting ring that had forged some 20 million Israeli shekels ($5.47 million) in the coastal enclave, the AFP news agency reported.

Police spokesman Ayoub Abu Shaar told AFP that three people were arrested last week "while distributing the false money in markets."

Hamas police described the three suspects as belonging to "the largest counterfeiting ring of 100-shekel bills in the Gaza Strip".

According to Abu Shaar, the arrests were made possible after Hamas police traced a man trying to distribute a counterfeit 100 shekel bill last week.

The man led authorities to the other members of the gang and to the fake bills, which were confiscated before they were put into circulation.

A police officer said a search of the home of one suspect revealed "a room with paper used for forgery, in addition to machines used for counterfeiting like printers, laptops, stencils and inks."

The areas assigned to the Palestinian Authority, both in Gaza and in Judea and Samaria, use Israeli currency for many transactions.

The ring is the largest counterfeiting ring discovered in Gaza since Hamas violently took control of the region in 2007.