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US Senator Demands More Action to Cut Off Financial Flows to Islamic State

© AP Photo / Islamic State militant website Fighters of the Islamic State group
Fighters of the Islamic State group - Sputnik International
The administration of US President Barack Obama must do more to cut off the financial networks providing support to the Islamic State terrorist group, US Senator Bob Casey said in a letter to Obama administration officials.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — According to a February 2015 report by the US Financial Action Task Force, the Islamic State has gained access to financing through bank branches in or near territory the terrorist group controls in Iraq and Syria.

“[The terrorist group’s] financial advantage is contributing to the flow of foreign fighters to ISIS’s [Islamic State] ranks and may prolong the group’s existence. More must be done to address this element of the comprehensive strategy to combat ISIS [Islamic State],” Casey wrote in a letter to the US Treasury Department and State Department.

On Wednesday, Casey announced the letter had been sent to the Obama administration officials.

He requested a progress report from the administration on efforts by the Iraqi government “to cut off bank branches in ISIS [Islamic State]-controlled territory.”

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The Islamic State has also gained significant funds from illicit trade in antiquities, oil, and other goods. Casey further urged the Obama administration “to designate and levy US sanctions against any individuals or entities acting as ‘middlemen’,” or individuals facilitating the sale of illicit Islamic State goods.

In September 2014, President Obama announced the campaign to degrade and defeat the Islamic State. The strategy included efforts to cut off external money supplies to the terrorist group, and levy sanctions on its officials.

As recently as 2014, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of providing seed money to the Islamic State. International media reports have alleged that the Islamic State has received funding from wealthy donors in the Persian Gulf, as well as financial support from the Syrian government.

According to the US Treasury, US allies in the fight against the Islamic State are currently working to halt financial support to the terrorist group.

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