Hamas Attack: Why Is Biden Under Fire For Lifting Freeze On Iranian Funds?
Last updated on October 10th, 2023 at 06:29 am
Republicans in the House and Senate have been criticising the Biden administration for releasing $6 billion in frozen Iran funds months before the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas launched a deadly and massive attack on Israel early on Saturday.
“Just weeks ago, the Biden administration handed over $6 billion to Iran, and today, innocent Israelis were murdered by Iran-backed terrorists,” Sen Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn, said in a statement. “We must continue to support our strongest ally in the Middle East.”
US Releasing Frozen Iranian Assets As Part Of Prisoner Swap
Blackburn spoke after Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. At about 6:30 AM local time, a barrage of rocket fire began from Gaza, hitting several Israeli cities including Tel Aviv. This was followed by a number of Hamas fighters taking over Israeli towns.
The Palestinian group released images of several Israelis being taken captive. Israel’s military took on critical blows as Hamas claimed to have captured scores of its fighters. “Terrorists … broke into homes, massacring civilians,” army spokesperson Richard Hecht noted.
In response to the ongoing assault, the Israel Defence Forces have launched “Operation Swords of Iron”, striking several targets in the Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to avenge what he said was a “black day” for the country.
The White House said Biden was briefed on the surprise Hamas attack. But Republicans sought to shine the light on the Biden administration’s recent moves to lift freeze on $6 billion in Iranian assets as part of a prisoner exchange agreement.
No Evidence Any Of The $6 Billion Has Left Doha Account
The deal allows the transfer of the funds held in a South Korean bank to accounts in Doha. The administration stresses the money can only be used for future humanitarian purposes and Washington will have oversight as to how and when the funds are used.
There is no evidence that any of the $6 billion has left the Doha account as of yet. But critics have argued the money is fungible and could be diverted elsewhere. Tehran is a known supporter of Hamas and has praised the Saturday assault against Israel.