Islamic State published a video on Monday purporting to show the destruction from an airstrike on a bank in its northern Iraqi stronghold which the U.S.-led coalition said had been aimed at disrupting the group’s financing activities.
Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the footage posted by a news agency that supports the militant group, but two Mosul residents contacted by Reuters confirmed the location of al-Zuhour bank in an eastern district of the city.
Targeting Islamic State’s finances is a key part of the coalition’s strategy to defeat the group. Iraq’s finance minister last year said the militants had looted nearly half a billion dollars from banks in Mosul and the other northern cities of Tikrit and Baiji after its lightning dash across the Syrian border in 2014.
Papers and burnt furniture littered the concrete and steel rubble of several buildings that appeared to have been destroyed by the bombing, the video showed. Debris hung from dust-covered tree limbs, and rescuers pulled an old man’s bloodied body from the remains.
Footage from inside a damaged apartment building suggested civilian areas had also been hit.
A military spokesman said earlier on Monday that a U.S. aircraft had bombed an Islamic State cash distribution site which was distributing money to fund “terrorist” activities.
CNN, citing unnamed U.S. defense officials, had said the building was destroyed by two 2,000-pound bombs. The officials could not say exactly how much money was there or in what currency, but one described it as “millions,” CNN reported.
Islamic State, which split off from al Qaeda, has also financed its operations through oil smuggling, racketeering, kidnapping and taxing the millions of people living in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq.
SOURCE: Reuters, Stephen Kalin & Raissa Kasolowsky