Islamic State prepares $2 billion budget, opens bank

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |   Updated Jan. 5, 2015 at 10:02 AM
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MOSUL, Iraq, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- The Islamic State projects an expected surplus of $250 million in its budget of $2 billion for the terrorist organization's efforts in 2015.

Islamic State representatives said in an interview with Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that their budget includes wages for the poor, the disabled and for families of people killed in airstrikes carried out by Iraqi and coalition forces led by the U.S.

The terrorist organization plans to use the surplus of $250 million for its war effort.

The Islamic State also opened a bank in Mosul, northern Iraq, months after taking control of the city in June 2014.

The bank, called Islamic Bank by residents of Mosul, gives out loans, accepts deposits and replaces obsolete, damaged or no-longer-accepted paper currency, according to IS representatives.

The Islamic State released a video of captured British photojournalist John Cantlie giving a tour of Mosul.

IS receives funds from multiple sources including oil, taxes it imposes and extortion from merchants. It also raises money and weaponry from raids it launches, Fouad Ali, an expert on armed groups in Iraq, told al-Araby Al-Jadeed.

Ali said the $2 billion budget may be an understatement, but also said the establishment of a bank and budget were a propaganda tactic.

In September, the Islamic State was exporting about 9,000 barrels of oil a day, gaining an average of $350,000 per day, according to the BBC.

Countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been accused of funding IS, but there has been no direct link established.

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