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Islamic State still a global threat with $300M at disposal, U.N. officials warn

By Danielle Haynes
Islamic State still a global threat with $300M at disposal, U.N. officials warn
U.N. counterterrorism officials said an estimated 24,000 to 30,000 Islamic State fighters have survived. File hoto by Abbas Mohammed/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 27 (UPI) -- While the Islamic State has lost much of its foothold in Iraq and Syria over the past few years of fighting, the militant group is still a global threat with up to $300 million in its coffers, U.N. counterterrorism officials warned Tuesday.

Senior officials warned the U.N. Security Council that the group -- also identified as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh -- has influence through a network of affiliates from West Africa to Southeast Asia.

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"It capitalizes on its affiliates and inspired attacks and has an estimated residual wealth of up to $300 million at its disposal," said Vladimir Voronkov, undersecretary-general for the U.N. Office of Counter-Terrorism.

Voronkov said the Islamic State's defeat in Syria "was not a fatal blow" and the group "continues to evolve into a covert network."

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"This follows the same pattern we have seen in Iraq since 2017, where ISIL insurgency activity reportedly designed to prevent normalization and reconstruction efforts continue", he added.

He said there's been an increase in IS and al-Qaida recruitment in Africa. Radicalization also is happening in prisons in Europe, where the Islamic State has difficulty sending militants.

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Of the estimated 40,000 people who are believed to have joined the Islamic State, the United Nations estimates between 24,000 and 30,000 fighters survive, along with their relatives.

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The IS claimed responsibility for an attack at a Kabul wedding earlier this month that left at least 63 people dead. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani promised to root out the militant group and blamed the Taliban for supporting terror.

"We will take the revenge of our people," Ghani said. "We will eliminate [IS] hideouts all around the country. The fight against [the group] will be intensified."

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