IDF attacks in Beirut
Photo: Reuters
Hassan Nasrallah
Photo: Reuters

Report: Nasrallah’s banks bombed

NBC reports IDF bombed Lebanese banks holding Hizbullah money in framework of Israel’s attempt to destroy terror group’s financial infrastructure

WASHINGTON – NBC television reported Tuesday that the IDF has bombed Lebanese banks holding Hizbullah money, this in the framework of Israel’s attempt to destroy the terror group’s financial infrastructure.


According to the report, in the past few days Israel has intentionally targeted financial institutions in Beirut and other cities throughout Lebanon, among them Tyre, Sidon and Nabatiyeh.


Israeli intelligence sources told NBC that at least 12 financial institutions that supported Hizbullah were attacked, adding that the organization, which secretly managed its funds, is now short on cash due to the bombings.


Some of the banks that held Hizbullah accounts were completely destroyed, while others were purposely damaged but not completely demolished.


NBC said that in one incident the Israeli Air Force bombed the home of a bank manager as a warning to other Lebanese bankers not to deal with Hizbullah.


Counter-Terror Bureau Director Dani Balilti told NBC that the message to all banks in Lebanon was that aid to Hizbullah is aid to a terror organization.


He said Israel knew they needed money and were desperate for cash, but that they didn't have it.


The Israeli Air Force targeted, among others, eight offices named Bet El Mal used by Hizbullah to store the organization's money. Two other banks in Lebanon were hit – Al Baraka and Fransa Bank, used by Hizbullah to transfer money around the world.


Banks: We have no ties with Hizbullah


The NBC network turned to the Baraka bank, which confirmed that one of its branches had been bombed, and that nearby bank branches were also bombed.


It was also reported Israel warned a third bank, the Middle East and Africa Bank (MEAB), that it too was in the crosshairs.


All banks denied any ties to Hizbullah. The director-general of the Fransa-Bank said that his bank had no ties to Hizbullah or any other political party.


The manager of the MEAB said that someone had tried to open a suspicious account at the bank, but that it refused to accept the money and fired a worker who was involved in the attempted deposit.


Despite the denials however, it turns out that the Lebanese bank was after all tied to terror.


Last week Hizbullah's television station al-Manar held a fund raising campaign, and in advertisements a MEAB account was given.


An Arabic-speaking producer of NBC called the bank in Beirut and asked to transfer a donation to Hizbullah. He was told he could transfer the money via any American bank branch, but that it was best he not say the money was destined for Hizbullah.


The MEAB held ties with American bank Wachovia. Following questions by NBC, the American bank immediately notified its cutting of all connections with the Arab bank.


NBC called the number displayed on the al-Manar advertisement. This time they were transferred to another bank, the Lebanese-French bank.


This bank has two connections with large banks in New York: Citibank and the Bank of New York. Representatives of the banks said they are blocking the transfer of all money meant for Hizbullah.


פרסום ראשון: 07.25.06, 08:00
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