“A hole drilled in the ceiling of the vault”: 66 million euros stolen from the Bank of Palestine

Armed Palestinian groups, one of which claims to be from the Islamist group Hamas, stole a total of 66 million euros last month from the coffers of several bank branches in Gaza, Le Monde reported on Saturday.

The French daily had access to a document sent by the Bank of Palestine “to certain international partners” which describes spectacular heists including the one that occurred in its main agency in Gaza City.

On April 16, employees “found that a hole had been drilled in the ceiling of the vault“, explains the newspaper, specifying that “Criminals got their hands on ATM cassettes, containing the equivalent of 2.8 million euros in Israeli shekels“.

Le Monde continues: “The next morning, April 17, armed groups armed with explosives again went to the building. to blow up the cement box poured the day before to protect the money and opened three chests, “taking the equivalent of 29 million euros in different currencies“.

Only two ATMs still working

On April 18, it was the second agency, the largest in the city center, which was attacked by a “commando“of men claiming to be”of the highest authorities in Gaza“, a formula which designates Hamas, recalls the newspaper, and left”with the equivalent of 33.6 million euros in Israeli shekels“.

Furthermore, the Israeli army for its part seized in the enclave “a large sum of money belonging to the institution“, according to information from Le Monde. The daily also quotes Israeli media, which “reported in February that the amount confiscated amounted to several tens of millions of dollars and that the operation was aimed at preventing Hamas from getting its hands on this sum“.

Le Monde also describes the difficulties, due to the war, for the Bank of Palestine to protect its liquidity and for Gazans to obtain cash. “Only two ATMs still operate, in Rafah and Deir Al-Balah (South), when supplied with electricity“, underlines the newspaper.

Finally, “according to testimonies from Gazans, corroborated by surveillance camera recordings, armed and masked men ransom customers in front of ATMs, demanding a percentage of their withdrawals“, explains the newspaper.

Gaza Israel war Bank of Palestine



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