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Israel seizes Hamas funds, military says

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: The man whose property was raided is innocent, his son and lawyer say
  • NEW: Israel's raid was "official theft," Bara Dadu says
  • Israeli forces raided the property of a convicted Hamas financier
  • Ali Dadu transferred money into the West Bank for Hamas, Israel says
  • Israel
  • Hamas

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli security forces seized money and property belonging to a convicted Hamas financier overnight, the Israel Defense Forces announced Monday morning.

But Ali Dadu's son and his lawyer denied that he was linked to the Islamist group, and rejected Israel's authority to seize the property.

Ali Dadu was convicted by a military court in August of transferring "enemy" money into the West Bank, the IDF said. During his trial, his son admitted the money came from Hamas, the military said.

Ali Dadu said he got $620,000 from Hamas, while his son said it was about $900,000, according to the IDF.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison and 12 months' probation, and fined 15,000 Israeli shekels (about $4,090).

But his son called the overnight raid "official theft under the threat of guns," saying the military had not produced a court order, and that the property was registered in his name, not his father's.

"They have confiscated forklifts, merchandise, etc. ... Last night was not confiscation, it was destruction," said Bara Dadu, the son.

"They took stuff and broke stuff that did not matter to them," he said.

Bara Dadu said his father was a wealthy carpet merchant whose store was badly damaged in violence between Hamas and the secular Palestinian nationalist group Fatah three years ago.

Both sides gave him money in compensation, he said. Ali Dadu used the money to settle debts and has not done business since then, his son said, adding that he now ran the business.

Ali Dadu was involved with Hamas "many years ago," but has "no involvement" now, his lawyer Leah Tsemel told CNN.

She said she would appeal the seizure of property to Israel's Supreme Court, saying she thought the chances of victory were good.

Hamas, an Islamist political group with a military wing, is seeking to rebuild in the West Bank, where it has much less influence than it does in Gaza. It gets money from Gaza, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, Israel says.

CNN's Kareem Khadder contributed to this report.