The jihadist terror group Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham has become a powerful military force, wreaking havoc throughout Iraq. But ISIS is more powerful than just its estimated 10,000 fighters and ever-expanding weapons cache: It is also believed to control $2 billion in total assets.
The Guardian reports that the group, whose actions in Iraq could derail the world economy , began its sizable cash reserves with the acquisition of oilfields in eastern Syria . From there, ISIS grew its treasury by smuggling antiquities and resources out of the embattled state. The Guardian said the details were discovered from a trove of flash drives acquired by Iraqi officials less than two days before ISIS conquered Mosul-Iraq's second largest city.
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Despite the vast riches detailed on the drives, the group's real windfall came after it took Mosul. After seizing its banks, weapons, and resources, ISIS's total assets reached a staggering sum.
"By the end of the week, we soon realized that we had to do some accounting for them," a senior intelligence official told The Guardian. "Before Mosul, their total cash and assets were $875 million. Afterwards, with the money they robbed from banks and the value of the military supplies they looted, they could add another $1.5 billion to that."
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The official went on to tell The Guardian that ISIS had acquired $36 million from one Syrian region alone by selling relics up to 8,000 years old.
-By CNBC staff