Hamas infiltrated a large international aid organization operating in Gaza and redirected tens of millions of dollars - 60 percent - of the organization's budget to its military wing, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Thursday, following an investigation that lasted almost two months.When Halabi was arrested in June, World Vision issued a statement:
The World Vision organization, which operates in 100 countries and employs 46,000 people, fell victim to a complex, pre-planned Hamas takeover scheme, a senior Shin Bet source said, adding that Hamas's military wing stole 7.2 million dollars a year from the budget, aimed at food, humanitarian assistance, and aid programs for disabled children, and channeling the funds to weapons acquisitions, tunnel building, and other preparations for war with Israel.
The source named Gazan civil engineer Muhammad Halabi, who has been heading World Vision's Gaza branch, as the operative who infiltrated the organization in 2005, rising through its ranks to become head of the branch in 2010.
"The scope of the infiltration by Hamas to this international organization is an unusual event," the Shin Bet source said. "It reveals a certain pattern," he added.
World Vision was unaware of the fact that it was being exploited to channel funds towards war, the source stressed.
World Vision stands by Mohammad who is a widely respected and well regarded humanitarian, field manager and trusted colleague of over a decade. He has displayed compassionate leadership on behalf of the children and communities of Gaza through difficult and challenging times, and has always worked diligently and professionally in fulfilling his duties.
World Vision boasts of how transparent its fundraising is:
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