Australia said on Friday that it was suspending funding for relief group “World Vision’s’’ operations in the Palestinian Territories after allegations its Gaza representative funneled millions of dollars to Islamist militant group, Hamas.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has said on Friday in Canberra called the allegations “deeply troubling” and said that it was “urgently seeking more information from World Vision and the Israeli authorities.
“We are suspending the provision of further funding to World Vision for programme in the Palestinian Territories until the investigation is complete.
DFAT spokesman said that Australia has paid World Vision 4.35 million dollars over the past three financial years for the provision of aid in the Palestinian Territories.
A senior Israeli security official disclosed that Mohammad El Halabi, World Vision’s Manager of Operations in Gaza, was arrested on June 15 while crossing the border into the enclave, which is under the de facto rule of Hamas, a group on the Israeli and U.S. terrorism blacklists.
The security official said that Halabi, who has run the group’s Gaza operations since 2010, had been under extended surveillance and had confessed to siphoning off some 7.2 million dollars yearly to Hamas.