The Hamas ‘CEO’ who payrolled October 7 rapists and murderers: Former gang leader Zaher Jabarin runs terror group’s financial operations from Turkish office and runs half-a-billion-dollar empire
In its mission to eradicate Hamas, Israel has vowed to hunt down every member of the terror group involved in the October 7 attack – no matter where they are.
Just this week, the deputy head of the Iran-backed group was killed in a suspected Israeli strike in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, demonstrating that Israel is not afraid to strike targets outside the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank.
And in comments on Wednesday, the chief of Israel’s Mossad intelligence service suggested the country would be willing to go further.
While a small number of its military leaders are believed to still be inside the Gaza Strip itself, others are sheltering in other Arab states, such as Qatar and Turkey.
And although there are more senior members in Hamas’s organisational structure, one in particular is believed to have financially enabled the deadly October 7 attack from outside of Gaza: Zaher Jabarin, the ‘CEO of Hamas’.
Zaher Jabarin, 55, oversees the Hamas finance empire that is estimated to be worth half a billion dollars, and which funds the group’s military operations.
According to the publication, Jabarin’s influence is thought to be so great that US and Israeli security officials believe he enabled Hamas to pay for the weapons and wages for its fighters who mounted the shocking October 7 attack (pictured)
Jabarin, 55, oversees the Hamas finance empire that is estimated to be worth half a billion dollars, and which funds the group’s military operations.
He manages the terror group’s financial relationship with Iran – its main benefactor – and handles the process of moving cash from Tehran to the Gaza strip, officials say.
The group does this via money transfers using the informal hawala system, and more recently cryptocurrencies, the Wall Street Journal reports.
On top of that, he also looks after a portfolio of companies that deliver annual income for Hamas as well as running a network of private donors and businessmen who invest in the Islamist group that is hell-bent on destroying Israel.
As a result, he was personally sanctioned by the United States in 2019, but has nevertheless been able to continue operating.
According to the publication, his influence is thought to be so great that US and Israeli security officials believe he enabled Hamas to pay for the weapons and wages for its fighters who mounted the shocking October 7 attack.
Heavily armed gunmen assaulted southern Israel, killed around 1,200 people and kidnapped 240 more, dragging them into Gaza.
Israel’s retaliatory campaign has killed more than 22,400 people, more than two-thirds of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry.
‘Jabarin played a huge role because he handles all of Hamas’ finance outside Gaza,’ Uzi Shaya, a former Israeli security official who has researched illicit finance, told the Journal. ‘Jabarin is the CEO of Hamas.’
Jabarin was close to Saleh al-Arouri, the Hamas official killed on Tuesday in a precision strike in Beirut, attributed to Israel.
Together, Jabarin and Arouri helped found Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank – the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades – and both have ties to Iran.
Arouri even wrote the introduction to a book that Jabarin published after his release from prison in 2011, as part of a prisoner exchange that saw Israel swap 1,000 Palestinian inmates for one Israel soldier.
Yahya Sinwar, the current leader in Gaza, was also released under the same deal.
‘Days have not weakened his resolve,’ Arouri wrote of Jabarin, the Journal reports. ‘He is continuing, god willing, to complete this journey, which is the path of jihad.’
eople gather outside a damaged building following a massive explosion in the southern Beirut suburb of Dahiyeh, Lebanon, Tuesday. The suspected Israeli strike killed Saleh al-Arouri – the deputy head of the Iran-backed group – demonstrating that Israel is not afraid to strike targets outside the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank
Saleh al-Arouri was killed in the stroke in Beirut in what is believed to have been an Israeli strike
Israel has vowed to hunt down all Hamas leaders responsible for the October 7 terror attack. Pictured: Yahya Sinwar, head of the political wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, attends a rally in support of Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa mosque in Gaza City in 2022
According to his book, seen by the Journal, Jabarin was born in 1968 and grew up in Salfit, a town in the northern West Bank.
He found religion as a boy and attended the local mosque, reading works by the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is an offshoot.
According to an interview he gave, he led a gang in his late teens called ‘The Shooting Squads’ and joined the 1987 uprising against Israel, known as the first intifada. He told Felesteen newspaper that he wrote anti-occupation graffiti in Salfit.
But he soon turned to more violent means, obtaining weapons, some of which he purchased by borrowing money from his mother.
The Journal reports that one of his early contributions to Hamas was recruiting a Palestinian named Yahya Ayyash, who learned how to make explosive devices.
Jabarin was arrested in 1996 over the killing of an Israeli soldier, was convicted of murder and handed a life sentence.
While behind bars, he learned Hebrew, studied for a degree, and began writing his book – published the year after his release in 2011.
Meanwhile, during his 15-year imprisonment, Hamas grew into the group that it is today – a popular faction in the West Bank and Gaza and an internationally recognised terror organisation which took control of the coastal strip in 2007.
This allowed it to levy taxes in Gaza, boosting its ability to raise funds.
By the time Jabarin was released, Hamas had established a network of companies that provided the group with the income it needed, as well as a method with which to launder money so that it wasn’t associated with the group to avoid sanctions.
US officials say the base of operations was at first in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
There, Hamas is said to have moved millions of dollars from Iran to its military operations in Gaza. However, under US-imposed pressure, Saudi Arabia forced Hamas’s finance officials from the country’s capital.
But they soon found a new home in the form of Turkey.
Hamas’s financial office is now based in a building in Istanbul where the group holds stakes in companies, including shares in a real-estate firm listed on Turkey’s stock exchange, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing US sanctions.
Jabarin has for years evaded Western sanctions to use financial systems in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the UEA, Sudan and Turkey to found companies and move money into the hands of Hamas, a source told the Journal.
The US imposed sanctions on him directly in 2019, saying he had become the architect behind ‘a financial network that allowed Hamas to raise, invest and launder vast sums of money’ from the headquarters in Turkey.
A few years later, the US said that Jabarin – working with other Hamas officials – had developed a real estate portfolio which makes up the bulk of the group’s $500 million worth of assets around the world.
The Hamas financial machine is so strong in fact, that officials in the US and Israel fear that even if the group is defeated on the battlefield in Gaza, Hamas will still have deep coffers to draw from in order to continue attacks and rebuild.
And in poverty-stricken Gaza, the promise of a regular paycheck from Hamas means the group is able to easily recruit more soldiers to its cause.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to eradicate Hamas and its leadership
In an interview, Jabarin told the journal that he sees it as an ‘honour to get funds for Hamas,’ but denied his own involvement in raising money for the group.
He admits to now being part of the Hamas as a political party, and not the organisation’s military al-Qassam Brigades.
Politically, he told the publication, Hamas has relationships with many countries including Turkey, Iran and Russia, but distances the group from the military wing.
‘Israel tries to mix apples and oranges,’ he said, according to the Journal. ‘Al-Qassam has its own ties, far away from Hamas the political party.’
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