Qatar finances terror acts, a US lawsuit claims

Qatar Charity

Michael Laubsch, Political Analyst

A lawsuit has been filed against Qatar’s royal family by relatives of ten US citizens who were either killed or seriously injured during terrorist attacks in Israel and the Israeli-occupied West Bank between 2014 and 2016.

The lawsuit was filed in a New York court on June 10, 2020, stating that Qatar finances Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), which are both designated as “terrorist organizations” by the US government.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for the victims’ relatives and additionally demands US sanctions against the country, using three main schemes for financing extremism and terrorism.

  1. Qatar Charity
  2. Masraf Al-Rayan Bank
  3. Qatar National Bank

The New York lawsuit is backed up by an extensive investigation. For instance, it accuses Qatar National Bank of maintaining an account for Husam Badran, a Hamas Politburo spokesperson and former leader of Hamas’ military wing in the Northern West Bank. The account information lists a Doha post office box and notes that the account has been open since at least August 2015.

As a Hamas military leader, Badran orchestrated the 2001 Sbarro Pizza bombing in Jerusalem, killing 15 and injuring 130; the 2001 bombing of the Dolphinarium Discotheque in Tel Aviv, killing 21 and wounding 120; the 2002 bombing of the Passover Seder at the Park Hotel in Netanya, killing 30 and injuring 140; and the 2002 bombing of the Matza restaurant in Haifa, killing 14 and injuring 33.

In March 2014, David Cohen, then the undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence at the US Treasury Department, singled out Qatar as an especially “permissive jurisdiction” for terrorist financing, noting that Qatar “has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability.”

Qatar’s institutions being accused of funding terror and extremism are also under investigation in the UK under provision of “financial services to Qatar Charity in knowing support of terrorism.”

Qatar Charity solicited donations in Qatar and around the world and then transferred those funds to its account at Masraf Al-Rayan in Doha.The funds deposited at Masraf Al-Rayan were then transferred in US dollars through a correspondent bank in New York and then funneled into Qatar Charity’s accounts at either the Bank of Palestine or the Islamic Bank in Ramallah.

In the final step, Qatar Charity’s local branches distributed the funds in US dollars from those local accounts to Hamas, the PIJ and their affiliates to finance acts of terrorism in Israel, the lawsuit says.

As MENA Research and Study Center previously reported, Qatar plays also an important role in financing extremist organizations in Europe through Qatar Charity Foundation and other institutions it controls.

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