Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has taken control of Mosul in a major setback for Iraqi and regional security. Mosul’s central bank was seized in the process, and the International Business Times is reporting that ISIS gained control of the $429 million stored in the bank. IB Times cited Money Jihad‘s research into the richest terrorist organizations in the world as evidence that the seizure catapults ISIS to the top of the list.
Mosul Seized: Jihadis Loot $429m from City’s Central Bank to Make Isis World’s Richest Terror Force
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (Isis) has become the richest terror group ever after looting 500 billion Iraqi dinars – the equivalent of $429m (£256m) – from Mosul’s central bank, according to the regional governor.
Nineveh governor Atheel al-Nujaifi confirmed Kurdish televison reports that Isis militants had stolen millions from numerous banks across Mosul. A large quantity of gold bullion is also believed to have been stolen.
Following the siege of the country’s second city, the bounty collected by the group has left it richer than al-Qaeda itself and as wealthy as small nations such as Tonga, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and the Falkland Islands.
The financial assets that Isis now possess are likely to worsen the Iraqi governement’s struggle to defeat the insurgency, which is aimed at creating an Islamic state across the Syrian-Iraqi border.
The Islamist militants took control of Mosul after hundreds of its fighters overwhelmed government military forces in a lightening attack on Monday, forcing up to 500,000 people to flee the city and Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki to call a national state of emergency.
The militants freed up to 1,000 inmates from Mosul’s central prison, according to senior police officials. They are also in control of Mosul airport and local television stations…
An organized counter-offensive will be necessary to take back control of northern Iraq out of ISIS’s blood-soaked hands. If more commitment had been made by the Obama administration on perfecting a status of forces agreement with Iraq prior to the departure of American troops, this may have been prevented.