x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Al Qaeda in Iraq makes online appeal for funds for widows and orphans

Insurgents urged to extort money from foreign oil, construction, transport and mobile phone companies and international media agencies, and force wealthy businessmen to pay 'zakat'.

Al Qaeda militants in Iraq made an online appeal for new fund-raising ideas, saying they are in dire need of money to help thousands of widows and children of slain fighters.

Insurgents of the Islamic State of Iraq have funded their operations in the past by robbing jewellery stores, banks and offices where the government pays out monthly salaries. But the group has seen its main source of money, funding from abroad, dry up, leaving the group strapped for cash.

In a statement posted on Al Qaeda in Iraq's online forum, the website administrator, Seif Saad, lamented the state of the group's finances and launched an urgent appeal for money to "feed the widows and the orphans" of mujaheddin.

Among the new ideas to raise funds, Mr Saad suggested insurgents find a way to extort money from foreign oil, construction, transport and mobile phone companies, as well as international media agencies. If the companies refused to pay, insurgents would disrupt their operations. He did not elaborate.

He also said businessmen and wealthy families should be forced to pay annual zakat, which Islam stipulates should be roughly two per cent of assets, and called for imposing fines on wealthy Shiites in Iraq "who receive aid from America and the West and steal the country's oil revenues".