JERUSALEM, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli authorities said Thursday that the head of an international aid organization has transferred millions of dollars to the military wing of Hamas.
A statement by the Shin Bet security service said Mohammed El-Halabi, a 38-year-old resident in the city of Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip, has admitted of diverting aid funds and resources to "benefit Hamas terrorist and military activities."
El-Halabi, once the local manager of World Vision, a U.S.-based Evangelical aid organization, was arrested on June 15 at the Erez Crossing between Israel and Gaza.
The money he transferred was used to build cross-border "terror tunnels" and for other military purposes, the Shin Bet said.
On Thursday, the State Attorney's Office charged El-Halabi of his membership in a terror organization, activities in an illegal organization, commercial activities for terror purpose and several weapon offences.
According to the statement, most of World Vision's resources in the Gaza Strip, originating from western states such as the United States, England and Australia, were transferred to Hamas to strengthen its terrorist arms.
The Shin Bet said it has gathered evidence that El-Halabi had diverted as much as 60 percent of World Vision's annual budget for the Gaza Strip to Hamas' military wing, also known as the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades.
World Vision is one of the largest charitable and humanitarian aid organization, with branches in more than 100 countries.
El-Halabi joined Hamas, the Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, in his youth. In 2005, Hamas dispatched El-Halabi to infiltrate World Vision, and after years of promotion, El-Halabi controlled the budget, equipment and aid packages which amounted to tens of millions of dollars, according to the Shin Bet.
The funds were allegedly transferred to Hamas by inflating costs of legitimate infrastructure projects and passing the difference to Hamas accounts.
Some of the money was transferred in cash to Hamas, fraudulently recorded as an aid to children in need, or by paying out salaries to Hamas operatives, who were falsely registered as employees of World Vision.
Hamas has been controlling the Gaza Strip since it won the 2006 election. Israel imposed a blockade on the strip in the wake of the takeover, allowing a restricted transfer of goods in and out of the Palestinian enclave and limiting most exits and enters of people.