In an alarming disclosure about the growing spread of the Islamic State and its trans-national linkages, a new report by the UN shows that thirty-four militant groups across continents have joined the IS. “Thirty-four militant groups from around the world had reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group as of mid-December and that number will only grow in 2016,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report.
In the backdrop of increasing terror attacks worldwide, Mr Ban said that the UN member states should also prepare for an increase in attacks by IS-associated groups from countries such as the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Libya and Nigeria, traveling to other countries. “The recent expansion of the ISIL sphere of influence across west and north Africa, the Middle East and south and southeast Asia demonstrates the speed and scale at which the gravity of the threat has evolved in just 18 months,” Mr Ban said.
World’s wealthiest terror network
The report also underlines the growing financial strengths of terror networks, with the IS emerging as “the world’s wealthiest terrorist organization.” It is estimated that the group generated $400-500 million from oil and oil products in 2015, despite an embargo.
The UN mission in Iraq reported that the cash taken from bank branches located in provinces under the IS control amounted to USD 1 billion. According to the mission, a tax on trucks entering the IS controlled-territory generates nearly $1 billion a year.
According to Mr Ban, the IS captured large territories of Iraq and Syria less than two years ago. Despite the international community making efforts to oust them, the IS continues to maintain its presence in both countries and is expanding to other regions.
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