- The campaign is part of efforts made by the terrorist organizations to solicit donations in Bitcoin. Initiatives to raise funds in Bitcoin were made during recent months by ISIS and terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip (Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees). At this stage, the ITIC is unclear about the effectiveness of this form of fundraising. However, the ongoing appeals by the terrorist organizations and the fact that new organizations are joining in may indicate that the terrorist organizations still regard this method as a convenient means to raise funds without supervision by the banking system and the law enforcement agencies.
The current fundraising campaign of the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem
- On May 5, 2019, the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem, a jihadi organization operating in the Gaza Strip, launched a campaign to raise funds in Bitcoin. The purpose of the campaign, according to a poster published by the organization on the Telegram social media, is to equip jihad fighters with weapons and military equipment. Equipping a jihad fighter for battle, according to the poster published by the organizations, is estimated at the sum of $2,000 (Telegram, May 5, 2019).
The poster of the Army of the Nation for raising funds in Bitcoin
Emblem of the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem (top left); Masked fighter on the background of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock (bottom right); Hadith (tradition) of the Prophet Muhammad calling on the believers to prepare and equip a fighter going on a raid for the sake of Allah as part of jihad (center). Below are the address of the virtual wallet, the organization’s email address, and the address of a Twitter account (Telegram, May 5, 2019)
Launching the previous campaign in May-June 2018
- In May 2018, the organization launched a Bitcoin campaign under the name “Prepare/Equip a [jihad] fighter” (Al-Raya Foundation website, June 6, 2018). In June 2018, the campaign was apparently stopped. Later, it was launched again.
Poster from June 2018 as part of the campaign “Prepare/Equip a [jihad] fighter” (Al-Raya Foundation website, June 6, 2018)
- As part of the campaign, an anti-Semitic statement was published, with a quote of Sheikh Abd al-Hamid Badis (a cleric who promoted political Islam in Algeria; he died in 1940). The quote reads: “So long as Zionists control power and money, and so long as Palestinians control protest and talks, woe to Palestine from those who talk and do nothing.” Then there is a reference to an address of a virtual wallet for donations in Bitcoin (Al-Raya Foundation website, May 15, 2019).
Use of Bitcoin for raising funds (February 2019)
- On February 20, 2019, researcher Ayman Jawad al-Tamimi, who studies Islamic movements, published an article based on correspondence that he conducted with a (probably senior) figure in the organization of the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem. At the end of the correspondence, Al-Tamimi raised the question “How can Muslims of the [Islamic] Nation assist you in your efforts?” The answer given by this figure was, “We have a campaign under the name “Prepare/Equip a [jihad] fighter”. The campaign has been going on for a long time, until it became a permanent account, renewed once or twice a year on social media. This campaign is still being handled through constant addresses, including e-mail, [a] Telegram [account] and a digital currency – Bitcoin. The details are as follows:
(Note: The e-mail address and the address of the virtual wallet mentioned in Al-Tamimi’s article appeared also in May-June 2018 and once again in May 2019).
Screenshot from Ayman al-Tamimi’s article
Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem – Overview
- The Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem is one of the jihadi organizations operating in the Gaza Strip. These organizations are under strict supervision by the Hamas movement, which regards them as challenging its control and as a source of uncontrollable terrorist activity against Israel or Egypt.
- The organization was established in 2005 under the name “Army of the Nation” (“Jaysh al-Ummah”). In 2002, it merged with a Salafi organization called Salafi Youth Coalition – Palestine. The newly formed organization was called Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem. The organization is affiliated with Al-Qaeda, even though it did not pledge allegiance to Al-Qaeda leader Al-Zawahiri. The organization embraces the implementation of Islamic religious law (Sharia), jihad against Israel, and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate (according to the blog of researcher Ayman Jawad al-Tamimi, February 20, 2019).
Right: Emblem of the organization, which is the flag of jihad: a sword symbolizing jihad, with the Shahada (the declaration which is the obligation of every Muslim: “There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger”). The text below reads, “Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem.” Left: Emblem of Al-Raya, the official media foundation of the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem. The emblem shows a mosque minaret and a flag with the Shahada (Telegram, May 5, 2019)
- In January 2017, the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem praised the car-ramming attack in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Armon Hanatziv, which was carried out by a terrorist named Fadi Qanbar, resident of Jabal Mukabbir, who was affiliated with jihadi Salafism. In the ramming attack, which was carried out on January 8, 2017, four Israeli soldiers were killed and 15 others were wounded. At the time, several jihadi Salafist networks in the Gaza Strip issued announcements praising the operation. According to one of those announcements, the terrorist who carried out the operation belonged to ISIS.
Notice on behalf of the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem, in which the organization praised the ramming attack in Armon Hanatziv. The organization called on the brothers in the West Bank and “inside” (Israeli territory, i.e., Israeli Arabs) to carry out more terrorist attacks of this kind. The text at the bottom of the notice reads, “Fight the Jews in jihad by the rock, the knife, and Molotov cocktails, by a ramming attack, by a gun, by sniper fire, by IEDs and by suicide bombing attacks” (http://www.onlinejihadexposed.com, January 26, 2017)
 See the ITIC's Information Bulletin from March 10, 2019: “Funding Terrorism: ISIS raises funds through an affiliated website, using bitcoins.” ↑
 See the ITIC's Information Bulletin from February 4, 2019: “Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committees called on their supporters to donate money using the virtual currency Bitcoin.” ↑
 In Arabic: Jaysh al-Ummah al-Salafi fi Bayt al-Maqdis. ↑
 Hezbollah also carries out a project for raising funds for the purchase of weapons for Hezbollah fighters under the title “Project for equipping a jihad fighter.” However, unlike the Salafi Army of the Nation in Jerusalem, Hezbollah’s fundraising is not carried out in Bitcoin but by calling the telephone number of an institution called Islamic Resistance Support Association (IRSA). ↑
 For details on the organization in its initial form, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from February 11, 2008: “A group called “Army of the Nation, Jerusalem” is yet another global jihad offshoot in the Gaza Strip. Since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, there has been an increase in the propaganda and terrorist activities carried out by radical Islamic groups associated with Al-Qaeda and the global jihad.” ↑
 For further details, see the ITIC's Information Bulletin from January 9, 2017: “Vehicular attack in Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem.” ↑