The United States has taken new steps to thwart the Islamic State’s (IS) terrorist group’s attempts to develop its self-proclaimed virtual caliphate.
Washington on Tuesday unveiled sanctions against two Egyptian nationals accused of providing cybersecurity training to IS leaders so they could transfer funds through cryptocurrencies and expand the terrorist group’s recruitment efforts.
Al-Mawji Mahmud Salim and his business partner, Sarah Jamal Muhammad Al-Sayyid, are accused of creating an IS-affiliated online platform known as the Electronic Horizons Foundation (EHF).
In a statement, the US Treasury Department reported that Al-Mawji “provided technical support on computer applications” to IS leaders while also using the platform to help supporters of the terrorist group learn how to check law enforcement and raise money.
The statement accused Jamal of helping his colleagues by recruiting IS members to join the EHF platform and acquiring the web servers needed to keep the platform online.
“Today’s actions will disrupt ISIS’s ability to move funds, including through the use of cryptocurrency, and use its online presence to recruit and promote its terrorist ideology,” said Treasury Department Undersecretary Brian Nelson. , using another acronym for the terrorist group.
The department also imposed sanctions against Faruk Guzel, a Turkey-based financial facilitator who helped funnel money to IS operatives in Syria.
In a separate statement Tuesday, the U.S. State Department said the new designations and resulting sanctions reinforce Washington’s commitment to work with more than 80 countries. of Counter-IS Financial Group, referring to disrupting the organization’s global financial networks.
Earlier this month, IS launched a new campaign of violence called ‘Kill them wherever you find them‘, which coincided with a double suicide bombing that killed nearly 90 people near the tomb of a slain commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Kerman, Iran.
The latest US intelligence assessments estimate that the IS leadership in Iraq and Syria has access to about $25 million in cash reserves, up from about $300 million at the time of the physical collapse of its caliphate in 2019.
A separate Pentagon inspector general report from last November said that the leadership of ISIS in Iraq and Syria “is unable to meet its financial obligations, especially payments to the families of deceased and imprisoned personnel in ISIS.”
“IS also pays its leaders sporadically, possibly several hundred dollars a month, while failing to pay its fighters, which would likely stretch its limited funds,” the report said.