JERUSALEM - Israel on Thursday charged the Gaza director of a major US-based Christian NGO with having diverted millions of dollars in foreign aid to the Palestinian movement Hamas and its armed wing.

The Shin Bet internal security service said $7.2 million given to World Vision had been diverted to Hamas each year, with some of it funding the Gaza Strip rulers’ military campaign against Israel.

World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organisation, reacted by saying it had “no reason to believe” the allegations against Mohammed Halabi were true.

Halabi was recruited by Hamas to infiltrate the aid organisation more than a decade ago, rising to become the head of World Vision’s Gaza operation, the charge sheet said. He was arrested in June and indicted Thursday on a number of charges, including funding terror.

Shin Bet said there was no evidence that World Vision’s main office was aware of Halabi’s actions.

Since Halabi took over operations in 2010, roughly 60 percent of World Vision’s annual budget in Gaza was diverted to Hamas, including its military wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, according to Shin Bet.

This equated to $7.2 million per year, including roughly $1.5 million given in cash to Hamas combat units.