Israel accuses charity official in Gaza of diverting funds to Hamas

World Vision says it has "no reason to believe that the allegations are true" based on current evidence

Israel accuses charity official in Gaza of diverting funds to Hamas

File photo. Image: Oded Balilty / AP/Press Association Images

The charity World Vision has said it currently has 'no reason to believe' allegations that the head of its Gaza operations supported Hamas are true.

Mohammad El Halabi, the manager of operations for the charity in the area, has been charged by Israeli officials over claims he diverted millions of dollars of international funds to the Palestinian militant group.

The Guardian reports that Mr Halabi is accused of living a 'double life' as a senior Hamas figure, as well as diverting "funds and resources from the needy to benefit of Hamas’s terrorist and military activities”.

According to BBC, Israeli security services claim that as much as 60% of the funds sent to Gaza by the charity were being diverted.

He was charged today after 50 days in detention.

In a statement, the Christian aid charity says it is 'shocked' by the allegations.

The statement says: "World Vision programs in Gaza have been subject to regular internal and independent audits, independent evaluations, and a broad range of internal controls aimed at ensuring that assets reach their intended beneficiaries and are used in compliance with applicable laws and donor requirements.

"Based on the information available to us at this time, we have no reason to believe that the allegations are true. We will carefully review any evidence presented to us and will take appropriate actions based on that evidence."

The charity adds that it will continue to call "for a fair, legal process" for Mr Halabi.