Qatar secretly financed several terrorist attacks that killed Americans, according to allegations presented in an unprecedented lawsuit filed in New York City on Wednesday that seeks compensation for the victims' families.
According to the lawsuit, multiple Qatari financial institutions, largely controlled by the country's royal family, funnelled millions of dollars to terrorist organizations like the Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), responsible for carrying out terror attacks that killed U.S. citizens.
According to a copy of the lawsuit obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, several Qatari charities also used this funding channel to illegally fund these militant groups with the money necessary to orchestrate and execute the attacks.
"Qatar co-opted several institutions that it dominates and controls to funnel coveted U.S. dollars (the chosen currency of Middle East terrorist networks) to Hamas and PIJ under the false guise of charitable donations," the lawsuit, which was filed under the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, alleges.
The lawsuit was filed by American attorney Steven Perles, who has prosecuted several notable terrorism cases on behalf of the families of the victims. His clients include the family of Taylor Force, an American military veteran killed by Hamas in 2016.
Banks and Charities Involved
The lawsuit specifically mentions Qatar Charity, a charitable organization founded in 1992 as Qatar Charitable Society. The organization allegedly served as "a key funding source for international terrorists" and is also believed to have sponsored deceased terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden.
Qatar Charity allegedly worked with Masraf Al Rayan Bank and Qatar National Bank to finance Hamas and PIJ with millions of dollars, according to the lawsuit. Both banks "were essential to provide access to the U.S. financial system to obtain the U.S. dollars needed to sustain Hamas's and PIJ's terrorist activities," the lawsuit states.
Masraf Al Rayan bank is currently under investigation in the U.K. for helping Qatar Charity send money to Hamas and PIJ. After funneling the charitable donations through banks located in New York, the money was allegedly transferred to Qatar Charity's accounts at the Bank of Palestine and the Islamic Bank in Ramallah, where the funds were then distributed to affiliates of Hamas and PIJ.
Between March and September 2015, at least $28 million dollars was distributed by Qatar Charity to its affiliates in Palestinian-controlled territories, according to the lawsuit. Internal documents from Qatar Charity noted in the lawsuit further indicate that it has been transferring funds to Hamas and PIJ since 2013.
It is alleged that these funds directly aided at least six terror attacks conducted by Hamas and PIJ operatives between 2014 and 2016. This includes multiple car-ramming attacks in Israel, in which terrorists drove vehicles into crowds of people, killing several American citizens. Others were kidnapped and stabbed by Hamas operatives in and around Israel.
Revelations of Qatar's alleged involvement in these terror plots comes amid the ongoing congressional investigations into Qatar's support for terror factions and other anti-U.S. militia groups. Qatar's alleged involvement with terrorism is what led to increased tensions with its neighboring countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt, all of which severed ties with the regime in 2017.