ISIS finance chief killed in Iraq air strike

2015-12-11 15:28
Smoke billowing from the coastal Palestinian enclave following an Israeli air strike. (Jack Guez, AFP)

Smoke billowing from the coastal Palestinian enclave following an Israeli air strike. (Jack Guez, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - A coalition air strike killed an ISIS finance chief in Iraq last month, the US military said on Thursday, hailing it as another scalp in its bid to blow apart the extremists' financial network.

Abu Saleh was killed in late November, US military spokesperson Colonel Steve Warren said in a videoconference from Baghdad, calling him "one of the most senior and experienced members" of the group's nefarious financial system.

"Abu Saleh was the third member of the finance network that we have killed" recently, Warren added, likening him to a finance minister for the extremist group, which grabbed swathes of Iraq and Syria in a brutal offensive of beheadings and forced religious conversions.

Abu Saleh was killed along with two associates as part of the US-led coalition's campaign to destroy the extremists' financial infrastructure, Brett McGurk, Washington's envoy for the anti-IS fight, said on Twitter.

Real name Muwaffaq Mustafa Muhammad al-Karmush, the US State Department's terrorist blacklist describes him as a 42-year-old Iraqi.

"Killing him and his predecessors exhausts the knowledge and talent needed to coordinate funding within the organisation," Warren said, adding that two other henchmen in IS fundraising networks also were killed in coalition air strikes in Iraq in late November.

They were identified as Abu Mariam, an enforcer and senior leader in ISIS group extortion networks, and Abu Waqman al-Tunis, who Warren said coordinated ISIS's transfer of people, weapons and information.

Abu Mariam appears on the State Department terrorist list as Mounir Ben Dhaou Ben Brahim Ben Helal, a 32-year-old Tunisian.

"These strikes are an example of how we are able to decimate networks," Warren said.

The coalition has been targeting ISIS leaders in Syria and Iraq with air strikes to try to pick apart its command structure.

After the attacks in Paris last month, the United States said it was deploying a special operations unit in Iraq that will be able to mount raids into Syria to capture or kill IS leaders.

"We want this expeditionary targeting force to make ISIS and its leaders wonder when they go to bed at night: who's going to be coming in the window," US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a Senate hearing.

Black market oil sales

In London, the US Treasury's acting undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, Adam Szubin, said the ISIS group derives most of its funding from economic activity in the territory it controls and has declared a caliphate.

It has reaped more than $500m in black market oil sales, looted bank vaults captured in Iraq and Syria, and raised millions more through extortion.

But to run what amounts to a mini-state, it needs steady and renewable sources of funding, and to do that it needs access to the international financial system to move money and import supplies, according to Szubin.

"We are targeting both of these dependencies, ISIS's ability to generate revenue and its ability to use that revenue," he said in a speech to the Chatham House think tank.

"Most recently, the coalition launched a military campaign, Tidal Wave 2 which included precision strikes against ISIS's key energy assets: oil fields, refineries, and tanker trucks.

"We believe these air strikes are markedly degrading one of ISIS's most important sources of funding," he said.

Read more on:    isis  |  iraq  |  security

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.