MOSUL, Iraq — The Islamic State’s finances took a major hit on Monday, but the loss wasn’t the result of a few bad investments. Millions of dollars in ISIS-controlled bank accounts literally went up in smoke after one of its banks was destroyed by an American airstrike, U.S. defense and military officials said.
Military leaders leaders revealed in a report to NBC News that the terrorist organization lost millions in the air attack in the ISIS-held city of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Reports out of Iraq that innocent civilians were killed were neither confirmed nor denied by officials, nor would they comment on whether or not guards were present in the bank at the time.
The strike is part of a larger strategy by U.S. and coalition forces to weaken ISIS financially. American forces have been bombing ISIS-controlled oil fields and tanker trucks suspected to be involved in oil smuggling, the Islamic State’s main source of income.
Reports said in July that ISIS was generating three times as much wealth from oil smuggling as U.S. officials previously believed.
U.S. special forces killed Abu Sayyaf, a man believed the terrorist group’s main financial manager, in a raid in Syria. They captured his wife and seized several computers in the raid, which gave the U.S. and its allies key intelligence on ISIS wealth.
The militant organization uses its money to fund its operations, paying fighters a monthly salary and providing assistance to their families.
Two Syrian sources said that foreign recruits to the Islamic State’s ranks are paid as much as $1,000 a month.
ISIS also funds schools in the Iraqi and Syrian territory it controls, and operates a welfare system to buy the loyalty of local residents.