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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hamas has smuggled more than $66 million in cash into Gaza

PA Planning Minister Samir Abu Aisheh said on Wednesday that the Hamas-led government has managed to 'smuggle' more than $66 million in cash into Gaza through the Rafah crossing with Egypt over the last eight months. The cash was handed over to the PA 'Finance Ministry.' According to Abu Aisheh, the Hamas-led government has managed to pay the PA's 160,000 civil servants 69 percent of their salaries due during the last eight months. Some embargo.
The Palestinians have received a total of $318m. in international aid since Hamas took over in March despite international sanctions imposed on the PA, Abu Aisheh said, noting that most of the money was channeled through the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

This is the first time that a senior Hamas official has disclosed the total sum of money - $66m. - that has been smuggled into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Several Hamas ministers, legislators and officials have managed to smuggle suitcases full of millions of dollars through the border crossing.

The most recent instance occurred last week, when PA Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar returned from a 14-day tour of Arab and Islamic countries carrying $20m. in cash. A week earlier, two Hamas legislators arrived at the Rafah border crossing carrying $2m. in cash each.
Does anyone else out there feel that we've been had?


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